Luci LaBang is a star: for decades this drag artist has cast a spell over screen and stage. Now she's the leading lady in a smash hit musical. But as time takes its toll, Luci fears her star is beginning to dim. When Luci's co-star meets with a mysterious accident, a new ingenue shimmers onto the scene: Luda, whose fantastical beauty and sinister charm infatuate Luci immediately... and who bears a striking resemblance to herself at a much younger age.
... a wildly entertaining drag show of the highest intellectual order. No, scratch that: It is a blitzkrieg of ideas wrapped in a celebration of language. Wait, that doesn't do it justice. Luda is a narrative concerned with the passage of time and the magic of performance. Ah, I left out the supernatural elements and endless playfulness even in the darkest moments. Okay, we'll go with this: Luda is a magical, multilayered, intoxicating story about identity, stardom, performance, lust, and death that could only have come from the prodigious mind of Grant Morrison ... Morrison does many things well...In fact, discussing all of them would turn this review into a novella-length rumination on a plethora of subjects. Luckily, there are elements that emerge as the most crucial because of their power, timeliness, or flawless execution....The first of these elements is identity. Morrison shows just how fluid gender is while obliterating the idea of identity as an established, monolithic thing ... The second element here that merits discussion is the storytelling itself and how Morrison makes Gasglow and the Glamour take center stage, which is no easy feat in a narrative with two larger-than-life characters at its core ... shows Morrison at the peak of their powers. This book talks to you, to itself, to being, to flowing identities, and to everything from H.P. Lovecraft, makeup, and Max Ernst to Batman comics, aging, and Freud. Many books you read; Luda is a book you experience.
... dazzling ... Written in unrelenting prose that’s as arch as a drag queen’s stage-honed patter, replete with diamond-sharp wit and the nth-tuple of entendres, this novel pings merrily from one aside to another in a polymath’s delight of pop culture, theater and that fantastic city known as Gasglow, not to be confused with the Scottish city on our own pedestrian maps. Fueled by The Glamour and, more prosaically, mind-altering substances, Luci and Luda match wits and wills as they vie for supremacy. It’s a fascinating cage fight, made more so by Luci’s self-reflection as an elder queer and consummate performer ... These moments of introspection are cool emotional oases amidst the shocks that come either sharp and quick, or slowly with the unbearable tension of dread in this recursive puzzle box of a thriller. In all honesty, I don’t think I quite understood the ending, though I fully appreciated everything else until then. Hopefully, this will only be the first entry in a new subset of Mx Morrison’s expanding and ever compelling bibliography.
... a sprawling camp postmodern novel in which patriarchy is defined as a kind of magical Oedipal drag. Like Morrison’s work on everything from Batman to the X-Men, except even more so, the book is wildly and sometimes tediously self-indulgent. Also like the comics, it is in parts wildly, and weirdly, brilliant ... The drama is, inevitably, a big booty-shake distraction from the drama ... the novel is really as much a humble brag as it is a narrative, with Morrison (as Mott, as Luci) letting loose a torrent of gossip, shade, in-jokes and burlesque slapstick in lieu of the expected denouement, tragic or otherwise ... For Morrison, moving from comics to literary fiction is also a kind of self-remaking, and on the surface a common one — toward seriousness, credibility. In its excesses and its feral fabulousness, though, the novel doesn’t feel like a well-worn path. Instead, Luda feels like the Morrison that Morrison was always meant to be.