Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw: such a gripping and unique story

Why should you read this book?

Ultraluminous is Katherine Faw‘s second novel. I had never heard of this author before but I am very glad I came across this book. Before diving into this one, I read an article written by Philippa Snow from the Garage claiming that Ultraluminous was way more than the female version of American Psycho. As you can imagine, I became even more intrigued. Well, now that I’ve read Faw’s novel, I can honestly say that it’s an unique and gripping story without a shadow of doubt!

The main character of this book is a prostitute who gives herself a different name starting with a K to every man. The reader will also never know the names of all the clients K gets involved with. She refers to them by nicknames. This novel deals with self-destruction, drug addiction, and sexuality. The book is made up of a series of fragments that unveil her encounters with her clients and throwbacks to the time she spent in Dubai with a man.

I really enjoyed this book. Ultraluminous isn’t a page-turner. It’s a slow-burner, instead. It’s not the plot that keeps you interested. It’s K and it’s all the violence and rawness. I really loved how Faw, by depriving all the characters of their true names, depersonalized them, dehumanized them.  If this is appealing to you, I think you should give it a try. The ending was also a surpriseUltraluminous is definitely one of those books that leaves you speachless, at the end.

I’d like to thank MCD Books for the free copy. You can buy it here.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. I was a whore in a Muslim country. There was no police for me.”



Girlfriend. Prostitute. Addict. Terrorist? Who is K?

The daring new novel from Katherine Faw, the brilliant author of Young God, is a scintillating story of money, sex, and power told in Faw’s viciously sharp prose. A high-end, girlfriend-experience prostitute has just returned to her native New York City after more than a decade abroad—in Dubai, with a man she recalls only as the Sheikh—but it’s unclear why exactly she’s come back. Did things go bad for her? Does she have scores to settle?

Regardless, she has quickly made herself at home. She’s set up a rotation of clients—all of them in finance—each of whom has different delusions of how he is important to her. And she’s also met a man whom she doesn’t charge—a damaged former Army Ranger, back from Afghanistan.

Her days are strangely orderly: A repetition of dinners, personal grooming, museum exhibitions, sex, Duane Reades (she likes the sushi), cosmology, sex, gallery shows, nightclubs, heroin, sex, and art films (which she finds soothing). She finds the pattern confirming, but does she really believe it’s sustainable? Or do the barely discernible rifts in her routine suggest that something else is percolating under the surface? Could she have fallen for one of her bankers? Or do those supposed rifts suggest a pattern within the pattern, a larger scheme she’s not showing us, a truth that won’t be revealed until we can see everything?

Taken from the publisher’s website: https://www.mcdbooks.com

Book Details:

Publisher: MCD Books (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux)
Published on: 2017
Format: Hardback
Pages: 208
Price: $25.00

4 stars

One thought on “Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw: such a gripping and unique story

  1. Pingback: October Wrap-up – Books Turn You On

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