"The Song Jimmy Used to Sing to Drown Out the TV Next Door" -- WBB
Born in the United States, Linda Mannheim spent the first seventeen years of her life in New York. Her stories have appeared in anthologies and journals in the United States, Canada, and South Africa, including Nimrod International Journal, The Gettysburg Review, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, New York Stories and New Contrast. She was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Prose Writing in 2000. She has been an exchange fellow at Kunstlerhaus Schloss Wiepersdorf in Germany and a journalism intern in Nicaragua under the Sandinista government. Linda wrote her first novel, Risk, while she was a visiting associate at the University of Cape Town's Centre for African Studies. She lives in London.
Her 2006 novel Risk has been republished on Kindle. Risk begins on a train in the Karoo desert. 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. Through a driven and unconventional narrative made up of Hannah's missives to Gem, sections of Gem's autobiographical play, and entries in Gem's old journals, Risk tells the story of Hannah and Gem's fateful first meeting in New York, flashes back to Gem's love affair with a young man in Umkhonto we Sizwe, and reaches resolution in Gem's boyhood village with a splash of magical realism. 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.