Ultraluminous by Katherine Faw comes out today! It’’s the story of “a high-end, girlfriend-experience prostitute” who comes back to New York after a decade with a mysterious man in Dubai. Written in quick slashes of brutally direct prose, it’s a novel you cannot ignore and you cannot forget. We asked the author how she’s celebrating.
On December 5, 2017, I will likely wake up at 8:30 a.m. like I do on any date. At various times in my life, I’ve tried getting up earlier but then invariably, after two or three days of waking up at 6 a.m., I will start to question the point of living.
For breakfast, I have coffee and cereal, because I am an adult child, and then I have a glass of water with half a lemon squeezed into it. Normally I only let myself wander around online for an hour, though today I hope to wander, online and off, all day, doing only what’s for pleasure. I recently watched Les Blank’s short films collected in the Criterion set, and Always For Pleasure was certainly the best, though I also loved so much the one with Clifton Chenier called Hot Pepper.
I’m very happy to have a book come out in 2017 because it is the only ’17 year I will be alive and 17 is the most beautiful number to me. I will take a bath today. I often try to relax in the bath but then I get bored. Five minutes is the most time I can lie there doing nothing. I have a pretty extensive beauty routine.
I use the Lancôme La Base Pro primer, which I believe does something. For foundation, I use Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in 117. I know it has a new number now but I still call it 117. It also used to be called Marble. To give the appearance of being awake, full of life, I use under my eyes NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Vanilla. NARS: can you please release a concealer that is exactly this shade of pale but with a cast of yellow instead of pink? I set my liquids with the MUFE Ultra HD loose powder, which is silicone and oxygen or silica or, in nature, quartz. In the NYX Lingerie eyeshadow palette, I only use the peach and just in my crease so my wings don’t transfer. The Benefit Push-Up Liner has terrible reviews on Sephora and is in fact a terrible eyeliner but I use it every day. Women: never spend money on fancy mascara; all you need is whatever Maybelline is calling Great Lash these days, in Noir Profound. I find fake eyelashes tacky and also bronzer. I’ll wear blush today, MUFE Sculpting Blush in Rosewood, again for the appearance of life—verisimilitude. Becca’s Champagne Pop is a lovely highlighter if you only put it on the tops of your cheekbones, below your brows, and the bridge, not the tip, of your nose. I heard Benefit’s Gimme Brow was recalled but is still safe to use on your eyebrows and nowhere else. I also use it to darken my mole; currently I’m still alive: shade 3. On my lips, I’ll probably wear Sephora’s liquid lipstick in Always Red, which stays on through all things except the best kissing. My boyfriend and I were recently upstate for three months and at the grocery store they would often play “Passionate Kisses” by Lucinda Williams and I would think of myself as a very little girl unable to imagine what my life would be. All I could see in front of me was blank space. I spray Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray all over my face. It smells like the chemicals that it is.
My hair has its own personality and I let it do what it likes. When I got my hair cut recently, my hair stylist blew it out straight because I asked her to, and when I met my boyfriend at the Whitney right after, he was freaked out as straight hair does make me look too Melania, which is not good. Also the eighth floor of the Whitney right now is not good.
I will eat lunch, too.
For dinner, I hope we can go to the ultimate place to celebrate in New York, which is Le Coucou. Ultraluminous was five years of my life, 1,825 days, and I want to celebrate it ultimately. For clothes, I’ll wear my new dress, which is long and flouncy and sheer and polka-dotted, velvet high heels that lace up, and my blue faux-fur coat. I have a black purse with a gold chain and leather gloves that are red. After that I hope my lipstick gets smeared.
Katherine Faw’s debut novel, Young God, was long-listed for the Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize and named a best book of the year by The Times Literary Supplement, The Houston Chronicle, BuzzFeed, and more. Her second novel is Ultraluminous. Formerly known as Katherine Faw Morris, she was born in North Carolina, and lives in Brooklyn.