Twists and Turns in the Heart's Antarctic is a compelling new volume in Hélène Cixous's search for lost time. Readers of earlier volumes - Hemlock and Hyperdream, among others - will reconnect with familiar characters: Eve, the elderly mother now in her hundredth year, Hélène, the daughter, who never expected to become a mother at 70, and the brother, childhood companion and rival. She has almost no time to write.
"You hate me! You hate me!" someone shouts. "You want me dead!" Is that a revolver on the table? Bang! Shot or door slammed? The brother storms out.
The Family is destroying itself.
Twists and Turns, like all Cixous's books, is a many-faceted text, whose narrative spins its webs in corners familiar to Cixous readers: corners with books and writers - Montaigne, Proust, Kafka, Derrida; a theater and plays; friendship, and love. It is a tale on the scale of Greek myth, about the inescapable entanglements of family relationships, that can lead one, in hyperbolic mode, to envision murder and suicide, for, as Cixous writes, "with love's force one hates." And yet, "everything twists and turns": this is a tale with profoundly touching reversals.