“Heartland” by Ana Simo—An Alternate, Pre-apocalyptic United States

Simo, Ana. “Heartland”, Restless Books, 2018.

An Alternate, Pre-apocalyptic United States

Amos Lassen

Ana Simo’s “Heartland” is the story of a thwarted elaborate revenge on the woman who stole her lover. It brings together telenovela, pulp noir, and dystopian satire. Marcy McCabe is a SoHo art dealer who once was our narrator’s rival for Bebe. When she discovers that McCabe squandered Bebe’s affections after taking her away, she realizes that revenge is not enough: she must admit her guilt, sentence herself, and beg for her own execution, Soviet-style.

In this America, the inconceivable becomes ordinary: corruption and greed have led to mass starvation in the heartland; thousands of refugees have escaped from resettlement camps and attack the cities; a puritanical Caliphate has toppled Constantinople, with America in its sights. At the same time, our heroine who is escaping her New York life in disguise, lures McCabe to her home turf: a hilltop house in the Great Plains where her parents worked as domestic servants. Her nemesis, though, is crafty, and McCabe disappears, threatening to ruin a homicidal master plan so detailed as to be akin to love.  

Here is a hilarious, genre-defying debut novel that deals with taboos of race, assimilation, and sex through a story of love, language, and revenge.