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Risk
 
 

Risk [Kindle Edition]

Linda Mannheim
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

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.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 514 KB
  • Print Length: 311 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BIGB50Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #790,110 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Felt like I was there 18 May 2013
By V7+9
Format:Kindle Edition
I've never been to South Africa, but after I read this novel, I felt
as if I had. I was so absorbed in the lives of these characters, I
felt as if I knew them. Even the characters who had minor roles stayed
with me, like a bumbling a cop who keeps showing up during one of the
apartheid era scenes. I could almost feel him breathing down my
neck. I enjoyed the unexpected turns and twists as well.
Comment | 
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crossing Borders 7 Oct 2013
By G. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
I find this a really remarkable book. Set against the background of Apartheid, this story is a deeply personal exploration of individuals caught up in the tides and currents of history; thrown together or divided, and the meeting of different worlds.

First, Linda Mannheim's prose is clear, well paced and uncluttered. She has a gift for picking out the single detail that can make an entire scene real for the reader. A few words about a rickety table or the uncomfortable gait of a bullying policeman bring an entire world to life. But perhaps even more importantly, Mannheim has an extraordinary grasp of the psychological terrain her story covers. This is the usually impenetrable terrain that stands between a person and "the other". The reader is calmly, and barely perceptibly, guided over bridges and across borders that initially seemed impassable.

The book deals with the divisions in South African society, and the psychological divisions that inevitably arise between those who have experienced extremes of oppression -- from social exclusion to torture -- and those who can barely begin to comprehend the existence of such horrors. Mannheim could easily have "fed" off the sensational nature of her subject to write a thriller. Instead, she begins by exploring divisions between people that basically everyone experiences many times every day, and which we have learned to overlook. Divisions between generations, between old school friends who only later realize they live in different worlds, the different worlds people inhabit when it comes to sexuality....

By the time the story emerges in the more extreme terrain of Apartheid's terrifyingly overt violence and oppression, Mannheim has already, and with great sensitivity, guided the reader through more familiar terrain closer to home. The reader has already learned to recognize borders and learned how to pass through them, and learned how to cross bridges. Without wanting to stretch the metaphor too far, some characters in the story act as bridges, some as border guards. But all, including the latter, are undeniably human, with human frailties.

But above all, I think many readers would find that they suddenly recognize the terrain that Mannheim explores so thoughtfully in the book, as their own.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Felt like I was there 18 May 2013
By V7+9 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've never been to South Africa, but after I read this novel, I felt
as if I had. I was so absorbed in the lives of these characters, I
felt as if I knew them. Even the characters who had minor roles stayed
with me, like a bumbling a cop who keeps showing up during one of the
apartheid era scenes. I could almost feel him breathing down my
neck. I enjoyed the unexpected turns and twists as well.
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