January 26, 2017
Quintan Ana Wikswo’s A LONG CURVING SCAR WHERE THE HEART SHOULD BE
/ forthcoming October 2017
/ Stalking Horse Press
I’m delighted to announce the upcoming publication of my second book, a fabulist family history – a novel with photographs that surrounds sexuality, resistance, and the battle for independence in the mixed-race town of Lynchburg, Virginia.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hailed as “heady, euphoric, singular, surprising” by Publishers Weekly, “universal and personal, comforting and jarring, ethereal and earthy” byElectric Literature, and “one of Brooklyn’s most engaging literary voices” by Greenlight Bookstore, and “a mad scientist” by Literary Hub, writer, artist, and human rights activist Quintan Ana Wikswo is the author of the hybrid text and photography collection THE HOPE OF FLOATING HAS CARRIED US THIS FAR (Coffee House Press) and A LONG CURVING SCAR WHERE THE HEART SHOULD BE (Stalking Horse Press, forthcoming October 2017).
Her writing has appeared in Tin House,Conjunctions, Guernica, Gulf Coast Journal, The Kenyon Review and more. Her more than 30 projects combining literature, performance, and visual art are exhibited, performed, and published at museums and institutions in New York City, Los Angeles, Berlin, England, Italy, France, and are included in permanent collections and archives throughout the world including Brooklyn Museumand Jüdisches Museum Berlin | Jewish Museum Berlin. She holds major fellowships from Creative Capital, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Theo Westenberger Estate, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and @TheCenter for Cultural Innovation.
ABOUT A LONG CURVING SCAR WHERE THE HEART SHOULD BE
A searing, sensual novel with photographs, A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be weaves together southern fabulism and gothic fury, pulling at the restless, volatile threads of seditious American iconoclasts Zora Neale Hurston, Patti Smith, Cormac McCarthy, and Toni Morrison. At this devil’s crossroads of the King James Bible and the Egyptian Book of the Dead emerge the ghosts and realities of sex, race, violence, and hauntingly vulnerable emotion. Quintan Ana Wikswo has written an unforgettable and relentless reinvestigation of the American soul.
A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be unfolds on the unruly, mixed-race, queer-sexed margins of a conservative 1930s Southern town. 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 inhabit 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, wholeness, sexual liberty, and lives of freedom outside the chokeholds of racism, misogyny and social constraint.
Overshadowed by lingering scandals of miscegenation, the persistence of searing endemic violence, and a troubling secrecy surrounding their father’s disappearance, the women begin to walk into the discomforting limitations of their myths and wounds, and create their own new maps of sexual and personal fulfillment, resilience, and transformation. When the town claims that he is closer than they think, the women must decide whether his reappearance would offer wholeness, or unbearable consequences to their own hard-fought, courageous journeys towards existential insurrection.
PRAISE FOR THE HOPE OF FLOATING HAS CARRIED US THIS FAR (Coffee House Press)
“In these stories, author and visual artist Wikswo juxtaposes dreamy, surreal prose with shadowed, ambiguous, occluded dreamscapes to haunting effect. Her stories defy narrative and instead read like a series of short poems or incantations – heady, euphoric, and full of loss… Wikswo’s singular lines strike like the tone of a bell, resonating across pages…the stories defy genre or distillation and instead take the reader on a journey where myth, mystery and the impossible have never seemed more real.”
– Publisher’s Weekly
“Each of the 10 stories in the collection feels crafted into a distinctive object and thoughtfully presented, practically hung on a wall for the audience’s contemplation. This makes for an unconventional reading experience that is as visual as it is verbal. . . in Wikswo’s book, the text and paratext are equally deliberate and interesting, and are, as befits a cross-genre artist, difficult to separate. The book is singularly uncommon, tempting the audience to explore the stories’ translucency and from there delve into the eerie depths beneath their surfaces.”
“In this mysterious work, Wikswo has found a new way to dramatize historical horrors and ambiguities. There’s an art to the arrangement of words and images in “The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far, Quintan Ana Wikswo’s new collection. It’s more than the way authors like W.G. Sebald, Jesse Ball and Teju Cole have used photographs to punctuate and accentuate the narratives they write; there’s a sense of collage here, of the images being used to state things where words no longer suffice.
—The Star Tribune
“An intoxicating read that feels at once universal and personal, comforting and jarring, ethereal and earthy…a successfully ambitious blending of form that takes the reader beyond the expected in both literature and art. There’s a lot of bending in Wikswo’s work – time, form, genre, narrative, gender, historical record-which encourages the reader to explore the territories we may not have encountered in more familiar forms of story collection. As she says, a “disruption in the familiar invokes a questioning of the habitual.”
“Desire bends the world with transmogrifying persistence in Wikswo’s debut collection, The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far, until the reality we thought we knew erodes into the background of a whorling landscape rife with longing. The tragedy of embodiment, of our inherent separation from one another, permeates a text whose protagonists strive to rewrite the rules of creation, that it might contain a space where they can love. It is no wonder, then, that the text obliterates boundaries of form, structure, genre, and medium like a typhoon.”
“You will find within these pages a marvelous alchemy of image and text, all of it radiant, sensual, endlessly layered. The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far is at once a seduction and an insurrection: a paean to lovers, explorers, resisters, and those without borders.”
—National Book Award finalist Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Madeleine is Sleeping
“There’s a mesmerizing sense of timespace travel in these stories, which seem to simultaneously inhabit ancient mythological eras and the present day.”
“These stunning, solitary and cinematic letters to the self (think of the Quays and Béla Tarr speaking together in dreamtime) bear witness to a world beloved and betrayed, the spent and brutal collisions of irretrievable loss with what might have been possible.”
—Rikki Ducornet, author of Netsuke and The Fan-Maker’s Inquisition
“Quintan Ana Wikswo’s debut book, The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us this Far, occupies territory the way only the bravest literary works do: the characters and places within shirk boundaries and create new ones, exist both inside and outside the world as we know it, and redefine love and existence in an unexpected and wildly queer way.”
“The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far is a magnificent work and is perhaps the most original collection of fiction and hybrid text I have read in a long while. These pieces stretch and bend the reader as they come off the page, at times like artifacts and at other times like something organic and muddy, made of bone and throbbing with an indefatigable bloodstream. They are stories that love order, beauty, and anomalies. Their vibrant (and at times primal) prose pushes to find something new in writing and art, and Wikswo refuses to repose into exhaustion or fashionable politics. But don’t forget the impressionistic illustratons. These images linked to stories that are at once enigmatic and yet emotionally relatable take this book into a realm all its own.”
– Review 31
“The speaker themselves mostly elude gender identification, rooting themselves in a sensuality and eroticism that transcend performative binaries along with increasingly outmoded delineations of sexual form. In the spirit of Virginia Woolf…and the lineage of writers such as Jeanette Winterson who freely demote gender assignment to a status outside the frame, Wikswo abnegates ingrained categorizations of gender and sexuality in the interest of more unbounded explorations of how desire comes to inhabit- or even possess – the self. What is love, and what is obsessions? How does violence imprint on the physical body; how does the body imprint on the physical realm?”
– The Rumpus
“[The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far] blends stark prose and shifting imagery with images that sometimes accentuate the words on the page and sometimes bring moments into sharp (pardon the pun) focus. It’s unlike anything else you’re likely to read this year.”
—Vol. 1 Brooklyn
For a society recently focused on how rigidly we should adhere to the identities that are supposed to define us, Quintan Ana Wikswo’s new book of photography and stories comes as a spiritual guide.”
“Although the foundation of the book is her sparkling prose, the accompanying visual art is just as integral to the story, itself a meditation on the discomfort of ‘painfully restrictive Newtonian physics’ and the quest to escape the torments of human desire by finding solace in a parallel universe. The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far is the acclaimed new book of words and images by Quintan Ana Wikswo, an artist and writer who has never limited herself to only one medium and certainly not to two dimensions.”
Quintan Ana Wikswo’s short story collection The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far boldly combines prose and photography to create a unique, mesmerizing, and unforgettable reading experience.”
“Wikswo is equally deft with words and photographs . . . Wikswo’s desire to reintroduce the reader to an intense level of natural vitality . . . is not so much an attempt to erase the modern but to restore something ancient and eternal to its rightful place.”
“What is written here moves somewhere between a personal letter and a myth digested by generations. The stories are site-specific, witchy, and precise.”—The Diagram
“Dedicated to those inhabiting the meeting point of nihilism and romance, Wikswo’s tales palpate the tiny, tender parts of us that dare to hope for love and belonging in the face of a cold and unkind universe . . . Blurring the edges of reality and challenging the body’s limits, Wikswo offers a glimpse of what could transpire if our deepest desires devoured us.”
“The stories breathe with peripheral intensity. . . . There is a rhythm to this movement, a music, a life. The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far may change the way you view the book as object, the story as word.”
“[The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far explores] humanity from the outside, not just crossing genres but exploding them. Quintan combines text and photography to give us characters who have left their bodies, and whose stories have become boundless. She writes with both a lightness and the weight of lives unlived, of remorse, and of loss.”
“Quintan Ana Wikswo, in her unique and magnificent The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far, has ignited an extraordinary condensation of texts and images that culls together spirit, compassion, and dreams. Throughout her foray into extensions of the mind and the limits of the body she exudes an uncanny power of magic and wizardry.”
—Lynn Hershman Leeson, Director of !Women Art Revolution! A (Formerly) Secret History