“A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be” by Quintan Ana Wikswo— A Reinvestigation of the American Soul

Wikswo, Quintan Ana.  “A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be”, Stalking Horse Press, 2017.

A Reinvestigation of the American Soul

Amos Lassen

Quintan Ana Wikswo takes us into the southern United States during 1930 as she investigates the American soul. It was a time of when mixed-race, queer-sexed people were marginalized. In the wake of abandonment by her husband, an impoverished young midwife and her twin daughters create a hospice and sanctuary for the town’s outcasts within a deserted antebellum plantation house. The twins live in “a fantastical world of ancient resistances, macabre births, glorious deaths, ravenous love affairs, clandestine sorceries, and secret madnesses–a site where the legacies of catastrophic injustice, bigotry, brutality, and grief contend with unquenchable desires for restitution and freedom”. (There is no way I could have said it better). One reviewer stated that it is as if Mary Wollstonecraft and the Marquis de Sade came together to look at female sufficiency and female lives with no man to protect them. This is the story of female strength in which the reader things about the letters of our alphabet and see how they affect who we are and how we act. Photos in the book are there to guide us.

We see the ghosts and realities of  sex, race, violence and the legacies of injustice, bigotry, brutality, and grief as they come up against the desires for restitution, wholeness, sexual liberty, and lives of freedom as they deal with racism, misogyny and social constraint. The plot is overshadowed by scandals of miscegenation, violence, and the secrecy that surrounds the father’s disappearance. Women create their own sexual and personal fulfillment, resilience, and transformation. When there is news of the husband and father’s reappearance, the women must decide whether this would offer wholeness, or unbearable consequences. The book brings together southern fabulism and gothic fury and is quite a read.

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