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Leilani's Luster praised by critics as 'sharp', 'highly pleasurable' and 'candid'

Book Reviews of the Week

Raven Leilani's Luster (Picador) illuminated this weekend's reviews. The Bookseller's Alice O'Keeffe selected the debut as her January Book of the Month, heralding it as "wry, sharp, honest, often caustically funny." The Guardian's Diana Evans selected the title as a Book of the Day, writing, "humour combines with crystalline prose in the story of a young American woman at the intersection of capitalism, racism and sexism." Over in the Sunday Times, Mika Ross-Southall dubbed the debut "caustic, candid and convincing," whilst the New Yorker's Alexandra Schwartz called the novel "a highly pleasurable interrogation of pleasure." 

Jenni Fagan's Luckenbooth (William Heinemann) haunted the reviews over the weekend. In the Sunday Telegraph, Francesca Carington gave the book a near perfect score, calling the gothic tale "seedy, sexy and strange." The Scotsman's Stuart Kelly continued the praise: "Fagan’s new novel is radical, daring and beautifully written." Finally, in the Times, Sarah Ditum called the title a contender for the weirdest novel of 2021, adding "there’s a force in Luckenbooth’s bizarre assemblage that could come only from an author ambitious enough to risk making a mess."

Gavin Francis' memoir Intensive Care: A GP, a Community & COVID-19 (Wellcome Collection) was dubbed both hopeful and educational by the weekend's critics. The Times' Kate Saunders called the memoir of a GP working amisdt the pandemic a "concise, fascinating time capsule of a book that will be useful reading for future historians." In the New Statesman, Anoosh Chaklian said the "conversational" biography "documents how the policy failings that made headlines in 2020 impacted the day-to-day lives of GPs like Francis." The Scotsman's Allan Massie summarised: "You will learn a lot from it, and you will find much more that is encouraging."

Tamsin Hackett, Books Co-ordinator, The Bookseller

Raven Leilani

4.19 out of 5

8 reviews

Razor-sharp, provocatively page-turning and surprisingly tender, Luster is a painfully funny coming-of-age story told by a fresh new voice.

Jenni Fagan

3.85 out of 5

6 reviews

Luckenbooth is a bold, haunting and dazzlingly unique novel about the stories and secrets we leave behind, and the places that hold them long after we are gone

Gavin Francis

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

In this deeply personal account of nine months spent caring for a society in crisis, Francis will take you from rural village streets to local clinics and communal city stairways. And in telling this story, he reveals others: of loneliness and hope, illness and recovery, and of what we can achieve when we care for each other.