Above Sugar Hill by Linda Mannheim

Above Sugar Hill is an unforgettable collection of short stories set in Washington Heights, New York City. Located between 145th and 181st Street – roads no one from outside the neighbourhood is expected to visit. It is a visceral, vital work of site-specific fiction. 

These tales of New York take place between 1973 and 2001 – 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. Above Sugar Hill is a literary map of Upper Manhattan, uncompromising narratives and complicated truths. 

'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.' 

Ed Cooper Clarke, Beverley Longhurst and Katy Darby from Liar's League read 'Tenor' at the launch of Above Sugar Hill, Wednesday 25th June 2014 on the Tamesis Dock floating pub in London.

Praise for Above Sugar Hill 


'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

'The stories in Above Sugar Hill share a strong sense of territory but at the same time the buildings in them are vandalised and neglected; they burn and crumble . . . The children are as vulnerable as the buildings in which they live.'
– Alison Moore, author of The Lighthouse

'You’re carrying Washington Heights around inside you, and you are the site of every story; the sliver of truth behind every story, every observation, is lodged in you like a splinter.'

Minor Literatures

'It is poetic prose at its finest.'

Sabotage Reviews

'Mannheim has done something very difficult here. She’s made stories that are as evocative on a sentence level as they are in terms of narrative. She’s made stories to which location is integral, but she has done that without limiting the scope and impact of her characters. She’s made stories that will genuinely make you laugh and cry. A definite contender for collection of the year.'

The Cadaverine

'There is real passion and anger in her description of her connection to her neighborhood.'

Necessary Fiction

'Mannheim’s is a rare voice, reminiscent of the wonderful Jo Ann Beard’s in The Boys of My Youth or Gloria Naylor’s in The Women of Brewster Place, a voice the reader wants to hear again.  What she looks at, she really sees.'

Book Oxygen

'It is a collection of lives and people. Yet, when you add in the dimension of time and place you get a nuanced and rich history of said place, an account of something that we think of as static.'

Kaleidoscope Sounds

Further Reading

'When it Breaks' by Linda Mannheim

– The Learned Pig

'Business' by Linda Mannheim

– Bookanista

About the Author

Linda Mannheim is the author of novel Risk (Penguin), Noir and Trigger (Kindle Single). Her short stories have appeared in Nimrod International Journal, The Gettysburg Review, New York Stories and New Contrast.

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9927655-2-1
ePub ISBN: 978-1-910312-00-1
Publication date: 31 May 2014
Format: Paperback, ePub and mob