All of the stories in Above Sugar Hill take place in New York between 145th and 181st Street, roads no one from outside the neighbourhood is expected to visit — a Puerto Rican Independentista fends off the FBI, a young girl spots Marilyn Monroe more than ten years after Monroe’s suicide, an opera-singing housing activist goes missing and presumed to have been murdered.
“Where I come from is tiny,” observes the narrator of one of the stories. “Women run the short block screaming when their purses get snatched. Blam blams and the fire of flying heat cut the night.”
A chronicle of the decades when Harlem and Washington Heights lay forgotten, Above Sugar Hill explores a part of New York that isn’t on tourist maps.
'Mannheim’s restive tales of her desiccated stretch of New York provoke and abide like a slap.'
– Eimear McBride, author of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
'Wonderful, affecting stories.'
– Irenosen Okojie, author of Speak Gigantular
'Linda Mannheim’s smouldering vignettes of New York life are both achingly sad and beautifully wrought. These are stories to re-read and savour.'
– Stuart Evers, author of Your Father Sends His Love
Risk begins on a train. It is 1999, and Hannah, a New York-born film researcher, is on her way to Johannesburg and crossing the terrain of her ex-lover Gem’s childhood. Next to her is the envelope he has sent her, and in it is the story of what happened to Gem when he was detained during South Africa’s state of emergency.
A detective story as well as a love story, a war story as well as a coming of age story, Risk is about the ways that the large movements of history affect the smaller movements of people’s day-to-day lives, the ways that personal identity is shaped by political conflict, and the ways we are changed when we cross geographical and emotional boundaries.
Originally published by Penguin SA, Risk was short-listed for Book of the Year by the journalist Jenny Crwys Williams.
An authentic, almost too realistic story that will haunt anyone who lived through the apartheid years.
-Angelique Serrano, The Johannesburg Star
A remarkably accomplished first novel.
-Beverley Roos Muller, The Cape Argus
A wonderful rendering of the South African novel.
-Jenny Crwys Williams, Talk Radio 702