Songs For The Cold Of Heart (2018)

A yarn to rival the best of them, a big fat whopper of a tall tale that bounces around from provincial Rivière-du-Loup in 1919 to Nagasaki, 1990s Berlin, Rome, and beyond. This is the story of a century—long and glorious, stuffed full of parallels, repeating motifs, and unforgettable characters—with the passion and plotting of a modern-day Tosca.


“If the Americans have John Irving and the Colombians Gabriel Garcia Marquez, we have Eric Dupont. And he’s every bit as good as them.” (Voir)

Winner, Prix des libraires du Québec
Winner, Prix des collégiens
Eric Dupont’s La Fiancée américaine*, at last available in English

*over 60,000 copies sold in Quebec alone

Written by Eric Dupont
Translated by Peter McCambridge
608 pages • 9781771861472 • 9″ x 6″
FICTION / Literary
FICTION / Magical Realism
Publication Date: July 1, 2017


Wildly ambitious in scope and structure, Dupont’s novel (originally titled La Fiancée américaine) mostly succeeds in throwing many balls into the air and having each land where it has the most impact. Readers may be tempted to start the book again to pick up all the clues they missed the first time through. The entire work is a testament to the power, and pitfalls, of storytelling. Through exaggeration, selective memory, and perspective, whose version of the story can we believe? VERDICT Highly recommended.” (Library Journal)

“If you have any interest at all in current Quebec literature, you owe it to yourself to investigate this epic, operatic tale of the Lamontagne family’s odyssey from early-20th-century Rivière-du-Loup to the battlefields of Europe and beyond.” (Ian McGillis, Montreal Gazette)

“an epic, rambling, decades-spanning, vastly entertaining book. (…) If you read only one fiction book this year, make it this one. ★★★★★” (James Fisher, Miramichi Reader)

“wonderfully entertaining” (Tony’s Reading List)

“Dupont is too subtle and innovative a writer just to iterate such symmetries for the sake of pleasing design; each recurrence resonates in a cunningly different way, wrong-footing and intriguing the reader, and springing further surprises. He’s a consummate, exuberant storyteller who, like all the great ones, from Chaucer and Cervantes to Borges, employs symbolic, traditional stories to tell profound truths about the human condition.

This novel warms the heart.

I can’t finish without a word of praise to the translator. Peter McCambridge has produced that rarity—a translation that doesn’t sound like one.” (Simon Lavery, Tredynas Days)

rich, vibrant, memorable prose … a saga well worth telling and retelling.” (★★★★★, Foreword Reviews)

“Check the shelves in just about every household in Quebec with any inclination toward literary fiction and you will find a copy of Dupont’s novel. It’s the Thriller or ABBA’s Greatest Hits of its world, with a popular reach most serious writers stopped dreaming of decades ago. It’s fair to say, then, that the novel now finally available in English as Songs for the Cold of Heart is significant as a socio-cultural phenomenon, irrespective of its literary merits. Happily, those merits are many and varied.” (Montreal Review of Books)

Photo: Sarah Scott
Photo: Sarah Scott


Born in 1970, Eric Dupont lives and works in Montreal. He has published 4 novels with Marchand de feuilles and in France with Éditions du Toucan and Éditions J’ai lu (Flammarion). He is a past winner of Radio-Canada’s “Combat des livres” (the equivalent of the CBC’s Canada Reads contest), a finalist for the Prix littéraire France-Québec and the Prix des cinq continents, and a winner of the Prix des libraires and the Prix littéraire des collégiens. Songs for the Cold of Heart is his fourth novel and his second to be published in English with QC Fiction.


Originally from Ireland, Peter McCambridge holds a BA in modern languages from Cambridge University, England, and has lived in Quebec City since 2003. He runs Québec Reads and now QC Fiction. Life in the Court of Matane was the first novel he chose for this collection and the book that made him want to become a literary translator in the first place. His translation of the first chapter won the 2012 John Dryden Translation Prize.


✓ One of the province’s most daring and original writers in translation