by Wil Medearis
Pub Date 22 Jan 2019
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“Noirish…compelling…innovative.”—New York Times Book Review
A debut novel about a young artist, a missing woman, and the tendrils of wealth and power that link the art scene in Brooklyn to Manhattan’s elite, for fans of Jonathan Lethem and Richard Price
Reddick, a young, white artist, lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a historically black Brooklyn neighborhood besieged by gentrification. He makes rent as an art handler, hanging expensive works for Manhattan’s one percent, and spends his free time playing basketball at the local Y rather than putting energy into his stagnating career. He is also the last person to see Hannah before she disappears.
When Hannah’s fiancé, scion to an old-money Upper East Side family, refuses to call the police, Reddick sets out to learn for himself what happened to her. The search gives him a sense of purpose, pulling him through a dramatic cross section of the city he never knew existed. The truth of Hannah’s fate is buried at the heart of a many-layered mystery that, in its unraveling, shakes Reddick’s convictions and lays bare the complicated machinations of money and power that connect the magisterial town houses of the Upper East Side to the unassuming brownstones of Bed-Stuy.
Restoration Heights is both a page-turning mystery and an in-depth study of the psychological fallout and deep racial tensions that result from economic inequality and unrestricted urban development. In lyrical, addictive prose, Wil Medearis asks the question: In a city that prides itself on its diversity and inclusivity, who has the final say over the future? Is it long-standing residents, recent transplants or whoever happens to have the most money? Timely, thought-provoking and sweeping in vision, Restoration Heights is an exhilarating new entry in the canon of great Brooklyn novels.
“I read Restoration Heights in one sitting and found it absolutely astounding. Loaded with brilliant characters, rich dialogue and beautiful misdirection, this wildly entertaining debut made me want to relocate to Brooklyn and connect with the art world. It’s a portrait of contemporary New York that would have Jay McInerney green with envy. A beautifully assured debut. New York has a new noir poet in Wil Medearis.”—Ken Bruen, author of The Guards
“So much more than a thrilling and suspenseful mystery, Restoration Heights is also a subtle examination of art's purpose and a nuanced portrait of a neighborhood in flux. Medearis is—like all great novelists—an anthropologist as well as a storyteller. Here he shines as bright a light on the complex interplay among Bed-Stuy’s new and longtime residents as he does on the relationships among the haves and have-nots on 5th Avenue. An important, magical debut.”—Brian Platzer, author of Bed-Stuy is Burning
"Restoration Heights is a mystery of gentrifying New York that takes on questions about art, race, and class with bravery and nuance. Wil Medearis has written a cutting page-turner that compels a disquieting fascination throughout.”—Eric Lundgren, author of The Facades