Linden Hills Background

Linden Hills Background

Linden Hills, written by Gloria Naylor, was published in 1985. Though easily understood as a work of social commentary, this novel also references the literary past. The world that Naylor depicts is structured through an extended allegory involving Dante's Inferno, while other literary forms (such as Gothic literature and oral poetry) are referenced within the narrative.

The storyline takes place in an African-American suburb. The main character, Luther Nedeed, is somewhat like a tyrant. He delights in doing destructive and harmful things to this neighborhood. Nedeed symbolizes the Devil as he marries a wife only to get a son. Willie Mason and Lester Tilson are the main characters of this book. Two poets and best friends, they realize that all these people are suffering, and they try to fix this.

This book shows some of the legacies of racial segregation, and could be based on parts of Naylor's own life. Linden Hills is a work of poetic lyricism, with a stark and impactful ending.

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