Leilani's Luster praised by critics as 'sharp', 'highly pleasurable' and 'candid'
11th January 2021
Raven Leilani's Luster (Picador) illuminated this weekend's reviews, with The Bookseller's Alice O'Keeffe heralding it as "wry, sharp, honest, often caustically funny."
"This is an elevated example of the “millennial novel”, swerving cliche..."
— The Observer
4.19 out of 5
Death in Her Hands
"Death in Her Hands, like all Moshfegh’s novels, is a mystery, as well as a portrait of a broken mind...."
— London Review of Books
3.23 out of 5
Written in Bone
Professor Sue Black
" a personal and professional account of a life spent working in forensic anthropolog..."
4 out of 5
"It is time for a reckoning, but hoping to change minds isn’t enough when we are faced with a larger system of racial capitalism that perpetuates inequality and injustice...."
3.8 out of 5
"The Black Death seems an improbable subject for a comic novel, but Wilson takes up the challenge, and the result is fiercely funny. ..."
— The Sunday Times
Mending the Mind
"The Times writer lays bare his experience of severe depression..."
— The Times
"It is supposed to be a book about Britain, but Britain is largely absent. ..."
This Sovereign Isle
"offering surprising and original ideas..."
She Come by it Natural
"(A) bracing, mountain-fresh repositioning of the country star’s story..."
Not a Novel
Jenny Erpenbeck (Y)
"Erpenbeck’s writing is at its best precisely when she is able to provide us with this structure. ..."
— Times Literary Supplement
3.89 out of 5
Devils, Lusts and Strange Desires
Professor Richard Bradford
"Bradford has heroically slogged through the 8,000 pages of her diaries and notebooks..."
Ronald J. Deibert
"Deibert is always acute and provocative..."
— Financial Times
The Art of Falling
"an intriguing debut novel..."
3.63 out of 5
"Herron is an excellent writer ..."
"a smart and sensitively layered story..."
— The Spectator
4.5 out of 5
"Already a hit in the US, this hard-hitting novel reveals a hidden side of South Asia..."
" an ambitious epic telling the story of a fictional German city ..."
"At once gritty and escapist, it offers timely lessons not just in perseverance, but in nurturing optimism..."
Having and Being Had
"Having and Being Had dwells on Biss’s unease about her participation in a system whose values she does not embrace, even as she savours its rewards..."
3.5 out of 5
The City of Tears
"Mosse shows a deft command of character and narrative..."
The Collected Stories of Shirley Hazzard
"This definitive collection of Hazzard’s short stories is a welcome reminder of her remarkable talent...."
4.31 out of 5
Blood and Iron
"nuanced and thoughtful..."
— The Sunday Telegraph
Dostoevsky in Love
"An experimental biography tries to domesticate the great novelist, who was scarcely able to tie his own shoelaces without disaster..."
— The Daily Telegraph
4.3 out of 5
Alchemy and Rose
"Maine reworks the conventions of historical romance in a narrative that regularly undercuts expectations of what is to come...."
"a provocative, engaging history..."
"People of mixed race continue to find belonging difficult, explains this thought-provoking study..."
When the World Was Ours
"An exceptional read to mark January 27, Holocaust Memorial Day...."
"An Edinburgh tenement is the setting for these dark and fantastically funny tales..."
3.85 out of 5
The Last Migration
"Though far from flawless, this keening lament of an adventure is compelling..."
Delphine de Vigan, George Miller
"Despite – or because of – its gappiness, there’s sadness in this simple tale..."
Peter Ames Carlin
"A look at how the label went from eccentric outsider to defining the culture of an era..."
"The chief success of Sarah Pearse’s debut novel, The Sanatorium, is her use of place..."
— Irish Times
We Are Bellingcat
The Age of Fitness
Jurgen Martschukat, Alex Skinner
"Do we think of people who keep fit as more successful? The history and politics of an idea..."
— The Guardian
A Crooked Tree
"Packed full of small-town America ambiance..."
Mrs Death Misses Death
"an original, exuberant novel, freewheeling from prose to poetry to non-fiction..."
— The Bookseller
"Her ambition is laudable, but her radicalism is simple-minded...."
"an unflinching insider's account of medicine in the time of coronavirus..."
Kerri ni Dochartaigh
"(an) exceptional debut, a steely but spellbinding blend of memoir, nature writing, social history and politics..."
How We Met
"A gentle memoir by a romantic journalist, who recounts what happened when, seeking to honour her father, she agreed to consider a selection of ‘suitable’ husbands..."
"(a) witty and multi-faceted portrait of our nation..."
How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House
" Jones’s atmospheric debut has a multiracial, multigenerational cast who are brilliantly and even-handedly portrayed...."
People Like Her
"their different voices add to the atmosphere..."
We Are All Birds of Uganda
"My favourite — a dual timescale novel!..."
All the Young Men
Ruth Coker Burks
"a paean to making friendships across boundaries, to being kind even when the cost is nearly unbearable..."
4.44 out of 5
"what a joy..."
"Warm and funny..."
How to Be a Refugee
"May's compelling quest to uncover his family's hidden history illuminates topical questions about exile and belonging...."
"A new book from Harper is always an event..."
The Burning Girls
C. J. Tudor
"combines crime fiction with elements of gothic horror, set in and around a creepy village churchyard in Sussex..."
Derek B. Miller
"a gritty, post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller set in a 25th-century wasteland America..."
"Reynolds is a former freestyle snowboarder with an intimate knowledge of the sport and the rivalry it inspires..."
"A much-hyped debut novel deals with the worst thing imaginable: imprisoned, tortured children hidden in plain sight..."
4.88 out of 5
Mark Stevens, Annalyn Swan
"a captivating triumph..."
A Swim in a Pond in the Rain
"a fascinating sort-of seminar, but not without its drawbacks..."
— The Scotsman
4.25 out of 5
Robert Jones Jr.
"a fine achievement..."
4.16 out of 5
Words Fail Us
"A writer with a stutter offers a thought-provoking defence of disfluency and takes a sideswipe at Freud..."
"There is much in Gavin Francis’s account of working as a GP in Edinburgh during the coronavirus pandemic that is disturbing, some that is alarming...."
"BBC reporter Will Grant has produced an excellent look at the group of strongmen who came from left field..."
"At times, the novel seems less a portrait of a relationship than a splice of two stories on the same theme..."
3.78 out of 5
A River Called Time
"one of those exasperating books in which things seem to almost happen..."
3.67 out of 5
Anne Helen Petersen
"an intelligent and well-researched analysis..."
3.29 out of 5
The Death of Francis Bacon
Max Porter (Author)
"a short work, dense with allusions, somewhere between a prose-poem and a play script..."
— New Statesman
3.13 out of 5
One Night, New York
"this page-turning thriller marks her as a writer to watch..."
The Stranger Times
"McDonnell combines gonzo humour and neat character studies in the first volume of an urban fantasy series..."
The Coffinmaker's Garden
"beyond gruesome yet the horror is tempered by gallows humour..."
House with No Doors
"The novel sounds all the tried and tested noir notes — the brutal, rain-drenched city, the divorce, the obsessive work and professional conflicts — but it makes them chime..."
The Coffinmaker’s Garden
"MacBride’s work is beyond gruesome yet the horror is enlivened with gallows humour..."
"It reads like a marvellous mash-up of Anita Brookner and Quentin Tarantin..."
"Bauer’s judgment of tone is perfect throughout..."
4.89 out of 5
The Thursday Murder Club
"[a] delightful novel..."
3.92 out of 5
The Glass Hotel
Emily St. John Mandel
"brimming with beautiful prose..."
The Lost and the Damned
Olivier Norek, Nick Caistor
"Reading this full-throttle piece is both a troubling and an exhilarating experience...."
The Dead of Winter
"remains insidiously gripping..."
"unfriendly communities are 10-a-penny in crime fiction, but few are realised with the textured detail that French supplies ..."
4.43 out of 5
Ragnar Jonasson, David Warriner
"effortlessly blends the alien and the familiar..."
The Inner Darkness
Jorn Lier Horst, Anne Bruce
"as compelling as anything he has written..."
A. K. Turner
"(a) gritty novel with an engaging heroine..."
"Hammer’s writing is as assured as ever, but the plot is wildly complicated..."
"sympathetic to second-wave feminism while also recognising the danger posed by charismatic leaders..."
The Decagon House Murders
Yukito Ayatsuji, Ho-Ling Wong
"A knowing tribute to classic crime..."
S. J. Parris
"SJ Parris gives us a glimpse into the younger years of Giordano Bruno, her 16th-century heretic and spy, in this collection of three beguiling novellas..."
The Roots of Evil
"The latest instalment in the Bob Skinner series will delight long-term fans,..."
Play the Red Queen
"Jurjevics vividly conjures up the febrile atmosphere of a city in turmoil...."
The Butcher of Berner Street
"Reeve’s latest novel continues to hold the reader’s attention ..."
One by One
"a suspenseful and spine-tingling page-turner..."
"an immersive and immensely powerful novel..."
3.82 out of 5