Restless Books, 9781632061508, 240pp.
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
In a word-drunk romp through an alternate, pre-apocalyptic United States, Ana Simo's fiction debut, Heartland, is the uproarious story of a thwarted writer's elaborate revenge on the woman who stole her lover, blending elements of telenovela, pulp noir, and dystopian satire. There's only one solution for a nasty case of writer's block, and that's murder. Specifically, that of one Mercy McCabe, a cunning SoHo art dealer who was once our Latina narrator's rival for the scrumptious Bebe. When she discovers that McCabe has squandered Bebe's affections after stealing her away, revenge is not enough: she must admit her guilt, sentence herself, and beg for her own execution, Soviet-style. In the all-too-terrifyingly-familiar America of Heartland, the inconceivable has become ordinary: corruption and greed at the top have led to mass starvation in the heartland; hordes of refugees have escaped from resettlement camps and attack the cities; a puritanical Caliphate has toppled Constantinople, with America in its sights. Meanwhile, escaping her New York life in disguise, our heroine lures McCabe to her home turf: a hilltop house in the Great Plains where her parents worked as domestic servants. Her nemesis, though, is slippery, and McCabe disappears, threatening to ruin a homicidal masterplan so detailed as to be akin to love. Heartland is a hilarious, genre-defying debut that confronts taboos of race, assimilation, and sex through a high-voltage tale of love, language, and revenge.
About the Author
A New Yorker most of her life, Ana Simo was born and raised in Cuba. Forced to leave the island during the political/homophobic witch-hunts of the late 1960s, she immigrated to France in time to witness the May 1968 revolt, study with Roland Barthes, and participate in early women's and gay and lesbian rights groups. After moving once again, this time to New York, she became an English-language playwright, journalist and lesbian activist, co-founding Medusa's Revenge theatre, the direct-action group the Lesbian Avengers, the national cable program Dyke TV, and the groundbreaking online magazine The Gully, offering queer views on everything. Her New York Times-reviewed plays have been produced in such venues as PS 122, Theatre for the New City, INTAR Hispanic Arts Center, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. How To Kill Her, her short feature film with Ela Troyano, has been widely screened in festivals in the U.S. and abroad. A CD of her play The Opium War with music by Zeena Parkins was released by Roulette. Heartland is her first novel. She recently finished Tannhauser's Dream, her second novel, and is currently writing a new one, titled Divine Light.