Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Linden Hills” as Want to Read:
Linden Hills
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Linden Hills

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,340 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Linden Hills is an exclusive private residential estate in America. Intended as a symbol of black equality, it is in fact an infernal place, and the layers of hypocrisy and self-destruction which are its foundation become exposed. The author's other novels include "The Women of Brewster Place".
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 4th 1986 by Penguin Books (first published 1985)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Linden Hills, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Linden Hills

The Color Purple by Alice WalkerTheir Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale HurstonBeloved by Toni MorrisonKindred by Octavia E. ButlerRoots by Alex Haley
Best Black Historical Fiction
64th out of 142 books — 151 voters
The Color Purple by Alice WalkerKindred by Octavia E. ButlerThe Women of Brewster Place by Gloria NaylorBeloved by Toni MorrisonSula by Toni Morrison
Black Girls Write!
16th out of 136 books — 28 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,211)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is one I will be thinking about for quite a while.

Linden Hills has a lot to say about conformity and passivity, and buying into pre-conceived views and standards. It deconstructs the American dream of success and wealth and progress, and Naylor specifically criticizes assimilation, conforming to white and patriarchal standards. The characters who have made it to Linden Hills have sacrificed everything of true value to live a lifestyle which on the outside symbolizes success, and their inner
Jul 25, 2008 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Angela by: Jane Mallison
Shelves: booksmart
Many years ago, I was impressed by the Women of Brewster Place, Gloria Naylor's novel of vignettes about the Black residents of that fictional urban neighborhood. She revisits that universe to write about Linden Hills, a nearby wealthy subdivision. Linden Hills is Black America's Coto de Caza, a wealthy and exclusive community where residents don't own their homes but rather rent them for near-infinite terms from the descendant of the community's founder, Luther Nedeed.

Linden Hills, and the jour
The reason i love this book (besides the fact it is written by my favorite author) is that it provides a class, gender, race dialogue to dante's inferno in a way that easier to understand than the classic novel. The parallels between Dante's spiral into hell and the books exploration into Linden Hills are at the forefront of the novel. It gives you a perspective into the mind of how African American thought mixes with the so-called traditional literary canons...the end is sort of dull although i ...more
Nikki Stafford
Back when I was in university (I believe that was about 5 minutes ago), I had a young professor who launched the first African-American Women's Literature at Western. It was a seminar course, and I couldn't wait until my 4th year when I'd be able to take it. And then, when I got there, it was offered in the same semester as another one I'd committed to, and I couldn't take it. I was devastated, but the prof gave me his syllabus so I could read along, and that's how I was introduced to Gloria Nay ...more
Claire Monahan
Before May 2006, I would have bet money on my tendency to never be interested in this type of book. But my freshman year of college, I was required to read this for my rhetoric and consumer culture course, which put a whole new twist on my perspective as a reader (thank you, Dr. Davis, for enlightening my jaded first-year mind).

I've never read any of Gloria Naylor's other work, which perhaps was to my advantage. (I'd say her most famous book is The Women of Brewster Place, which is the neighbor
This is a strange, fascinating novel, although for me, it didn’t always hang together. It’s a mix of Gothic drama, magic realism, and social cynicism. At its best, it has the quality of myth, but at times it meanders, and sometimes you get the feeling it’s completely lost sight of its destination.

The protagonists are two young men named Willie and Lester, who spend their days looking for work in a wealthy Black suburb called Linden Hills. They pick up a lot of odd jobs – cleaning out a garage,
A funny, imaginative portrait and scathing indictment of the rules that regulate a particular slice of society, the African American upper class. Behind the walls of pristine mansions, racism, classism, homophobia and sexism collide and eat away at the inhabitants. This story is useful for thinking about what liberation is and what it isn't. I wonder how much the White House, Obama's house, looks like the interiors of Linden Hills, if you peek behind the curtain.
J. Trott
The best characters, our tour guides through Linden Hills, don't get enough story. Lester aka Shit and White Willie are poets and proud of their identity and broke, and they are humorous, alternately spikey and affectionate with one another. Overall it is a rich in its examination of personhood, race, and the cost of upward mobility but the story can be turgid.

The rest of the book cycles down the hill, like Dante touring hell, and it gets worse and worse. I found it all intriguing but was left
Marni Fantyn
It was interesting in that the women of Linden Hills were the subject at certain points of the book and each of the women’s stories through the current Mrs. Needed unfolded how they disappeared in the shadows of Mr. Needed Sr. and Mr. Needed Jr. It was as if the women’s private pain reflected in the material remnants were the only validation that they had ever existed. And if this was a commentary, a metaphor perhaps, of how the years suggests stability, domesticity, and commitment in the Nedeed ...more
Jacqui Hopkins
This is the sort of book that should be required reading, especially for college-level literature courses. It paints a very believable picture of black upper-class life. The story itself was suspenseful and, at times, grotesque and heart-wrenching. Gloria Naylor really knows how to write about mental anguish - there were times when I had to put the book down. The ending was sad yet satisfying.
Stacy Saunders
Luxury cars, swimming pools and caviar. The people of Linden Hills have “made it”, but at what price? Willie Mason finds out. Willie, a thoughtful, observant young man, lives in Putney Wayne, a poor neighborhood nearby. For him, Linden Hills is a dream with its palatial homes all owned by black people. But soon the dream becomes his nightmare. The residents of Linden Hills care only about “making it,” and the further down the hill they move, towards the most desirable sections, the further they ...more
This book will fuck with your head, but in a very good way. :)
❁ Yve ❁
Strangely enough, I happened to start reading this book on December 19th, the same day that Willie and Lester begin their descent into Linden Hills. I read everything else on the date it happened, except for the last day (Christmas Eve) because I didn't want the holiday to get in the way of it.

Linden Hills is another absolutely unmistakable Gloria Naylor work - there's the archetypal isolated setting at the fringes of reality and fantasy, the brilliant riffing on classic literature (doing to Inf
Linden Hills follows two would-be street poets, lifelong friends from different sides of the tracks, as they work their way through the titular community, an upscale black neighborhood where old heartache and suburban malaise lie beneath the veneer of affluence. Partially an exploration of the complex social stratification in the black community and part gothic horror built on allusions to Dante's Inferno, this is a novel that leaves a strong overall impression despite some missteps along the wa ...more
A very nice depiction of the progressive madness for success in some cases of American's. The decent of moral when success becomes too influential in choices that serves to only look like success in the eyes of their neighbors is described in a setting full of imagery and references to Dante's Inferno.
I read this all wrong. I really wish I had taken a class or something I totally missed the Dante's divine comedy connection, and I honestly skipped the parts with the mad woman under the stairs. Maybe I'll come back to it when I can pay closer attention.
Haunting, poetic and gets under your skin. It's been a decade or more since I first read this book, but the impact is still strong. Well worth the time to read and let it sink in.
Having finally finished the trilogy (which was read all out of order), I have to say that I am overwhelmed, at the very least. Each of these books emotionally took it out of me every time, even if I wasn't 100 percent behind the writing. It's difficult not to try to fit every single plot point & character into the Biblical & Dantean models that Naylor is using. I know that her characters do stand on their own, but since my knowledge of both the Bible & the Divine Comedy are both a li ...more
This was the second book for book club. Since we were snowed out for the January meeting, we picked it because the database Novelist suggested that it was in the same genre as the book we read for January by Octavia Butler. It was classified it as a Gothic novel written by an African American woman. In actually, there really weren't many similarities.

I was running behind on finishing the novel as the date of the book club approached and decided after page 100 that I just didn't care to continue
Kierra J,
This book wasn't the best but I pushed through it because I like to get a full picture of how a book is from start to finish. I remember I'd started it randomly in college, and the way the book began I always remembered that I wanted to finish it. Well, just like my first reading I was interested in the beginning of the book, but towards the end it started getting a little peculiar. I think that the basis of the story being an affluent neighborhood where people who usually wouldn't have a nice h ...more
I'd probably give it a 3.5. Some parts were really good, others were kind of strange. I never did figure out what was up with the catfish.
I admired this book at twenty. Just reread it & still like it. It is not for every taste. My bookclub hated it. Apparently it is too depressing. I don't get that. People create their own hells & suffer the consequences... okay maybe that IS depressing. ;)
One of my favorite books read long ago.
Linden Hills is an interesting story about the experience of blacks in contemporary America trying to "move up" in society, which, in Linden Hills really means progressively moving down, to houses bigger, more coveted houses lower on the hill. Naylor bases Linden Hill, the physical gated community in the novel, off of Dante's Inferno, with the clear parallel that those characters moving up in society, and therefore down to lower properties in Linden Hills, may be sacrificing something of themsel ...more
Dec 11, 2014 Vivian added it
good book
Astrid Johanne
Jeg kan bedre lide Linden Hills, ind Kvinderne på Brewster Place. Jeg tror det er fordi den ikke er så rodet som jeg syntes Kvinderne på Brewster Place er, men tror begge bøger skal læses et par gange før jeg får detajlerne med.

In English
I like Linden Hills bettet, then The Women of Brewster Place. I think it is because the story is not as messy, at the story in The Women of Brewster Place are, but I think that both books should be read a couble of times, before you get all the details.
I read this book for a school assignment and I was blown away. I am not one for older books, but this book was so much to me and has so much going on that I enjoyed it. It wasn't too complex either, I remember the last book we read was The Scarlett Letter and that made me want to blow my head off. Dammit Nathanial Hawthorne. It is definitely not a light read, very heavy and raw, but, ultimately worthwhile because its really an experience.

Rae Hittinger
Among the best books I've ever read - I think this is Naylors best book (though I can't say I've read them all). With allusions to Dante's Inferno and well developed characters, this book thrilled me. I love that Naylor weaves in characters and places from her other books. There is a brief reference to Mama Day, and Linden Hills is the neighborhood referred to in Naylor's first novel, The Women of Brewster Place.
I read this book when I was 14 or 15 and haven't been able to shake it since. It was too long ago for me to have read it as critically or to appreciate it as much as I would now, but I know it was chilling and important and more thought-provoking than anything I'd read up until then. I'm dying for one other person in the universe to read this book, just so I can ask them if I dreamt it or if it really existed.
Recently reread this (January 2008). I still like the combination of reality, history and mysticism, and the way in which characters' stories are woven together via Luther Nedeed (versions 1-3) and the two boys, but I'm a real stickler for dialogue and this time around the dialogue felt very artificial...enough to take me out of the story in several places. Other than that, it's a good read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 73 74 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Catfish Heads 1 1 Mar 03, 2015 05:15PM  
  • Corregidora
  • The Matter Is Life
  • The Blacker the Berry
  • Blues for Mister Charlie
  • Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo
  • Baby Brother's Blues
  • Brown Girl, Brownstones
  • Black Girl in Paris
  • Tumbling
  • A Visitation of Spirits: A Novel
  • Blues: For All the Changes
  • The Narrows
  • Blood on the Forge
  • Leave Her to Heaven
  • The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen: Passing, Quicksand, and The Stories
  • The Lonely Hunter: A Biography of Carson McCullers
  • Contending Forces: A Romance Illustrative of Negro Life North and South
  • Ugly Ways
Gloria Naylor is an African-American novelist whose most popular work, The Women of Brewster Place, was made into a 1984 film starring Oprah Winfrey.

Naylor won the National Book Award for first fiction in 1983 for The Women of Brewster Place. Her subsequent novels include Linden Hills, Mama Day and Bailey's Cafe. In addition to her novels, Naylor has written essays and screenplays, as well as the
More about Gloria Naylor...
The Women of Brewster Place Mama Day Bailey's Cafe The Men of Brewster Place: A Novel 1996

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“The music in his laughter had a way of rounding off the missing notes in her soul.” 1980 likes
“They all trying to say something with music that you can't say with plain talk. There ain't really no words for love or pain. And the way I see it, only fools go around trying to talk their love or talk their pain. So the smart people make music and you can kinda hear about it without them saying anything.” 27 likes
More quotes…