Raven Leilani’s debut Luster is a novel about seeing. Edie, the 23-year-old protagonist, is a keen observer, armed with wit and a sharp, discerning gaze. Hers is an eye that cuts through exploitive structures because hers is a world that requires constant vigilance. As Edie
“I should be so considerate of anyone who showed me friendship,” he says early in the novel. “All their wishes should be mine. I should follow them everywhere, like a dog.” Then he adds, with less than dog-like humility: “I am endlessly kind. But the people I have known have never appreciated this fact.”
One of the most absolutely electric scenes in Susan Choi’s fifth novel Trust Exercise (Henry Holt and Co., 2019) takes place fairly early-on in the book. Sarah and David are sophomores at an elite performing arts high school. They’re fifteen, and the previous summer, they entered
Note the first rule of an Oyeyemi book: there are many ways of seeing—nothing is more arrogant than trusting only one set of eyes.
I began looking into how things can go so wrong in taxidermy. The placement of eyes is so important; even if you screw up just a little, the animals can go crosseyed.