NOVEL REVIEW: “wild and sophisticated, poetic and prosaic…a surreal, sensual, and erotic journey that disorients and discomforts”

December 16, 2017

“Quintan Ana Wikswo’s A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be demands to be read and lived with for a few days or weeks—as long as you like, it’s got enough spirit and thought and music and visual interest to hold you. A considerable and openhearted novel, it is at once wild and sophisticated, poetic and prosaic. Although it is Wikswo’s first novel, it shows her to be intrepid storyteller, as she confronts issues of race, sex, gender, religion, and desire with an appreciation toward their complexity and oft-chaotic natures.”

A glory review by J.S. DeYoung in The Quarterly Conversation for my new debut novel, A LONG CURVING SCAR WHERE THE HEART SHOULD BE. It can be ordered from the publisher here in hardback or paperback, or anywhere books are sold. 


“Now Wikswo has returned with a novel from Stalking Horse Press. Similar to her collection of short fiction, A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be is a captivating and idiosyncratic combination of narrative and photography. The story and images are from somewhere old, nearly forgotten, where it had to be dug up and dusted off to be examined. As she describes her methodology, the novel was drafted “in the field,” on-location in Lynchburg, Virginia; Carnton Plantation, Tennessee; Appomattox, Virginia; and Edisto Island, South Carolina. A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be is a novel about the Southern United States in the years after the “war.” But don’t let that blind you with assumptions—for goodness sakes don’t make any assumptions about this book. You’ll be mistaken, because while this novel has some elements of realism, it is also a surreal, sensual, and erotic journey that disorients and discomforts.


“As the quotation above shows, Wikswo’s prose is marked by an abundant energy and rhythm. In interviews, she has said that she has been more influenced by poetry than prose, and it shows in her composition. Upon opening her book the first thing one notices is that the novel isn’t paragraphed like other novels. Instead it looks almost like prose-poem chunks, and the voice sounds at once old-fashioned yet timeless, mixing something like Beat-style poetry with the voice of Toni Morrison.


“With A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Beshe has weaved something remarkable and true to her philosophy of writing. It is a singular work and a gift.”