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.

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

Finalist, Giller Prize – Canada’s top literary award
Finalist, Governor General’s Award for Translation
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
$29.95 $27.95 website special
Publication Date: July 1, 2018


masterfulheartbreaking and hilarious” (Publishers Weekly)

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)

“This book manages to capture the cultural zeitgeist of Quebec culture in the twentieth century. It reminded me of all the great French Canadian novels I read as a child, but pushed them to new, delightful, hilarious, epic levels. (…) I dare you not to read the first three pages and fall in love.” (Heather O’Neill, jury member, 2018 Giller Prize)

As magnificent a work of irony and magic as the boldest works of Gabriel García Márquez, but with a wholly original sensibility that captures the marvellous obsessions of the Québécois zeitgeist of the 20th century. It is, without a doubt, a tour de force. And the translation is as exquisite as a snowflake.” (Giller Prize jury)

With literary talent as well as peculiar imagination, Eric Dupont has long been hailed as spearheading the Québécois literary revival, and in this English translation of his runaway best-seller La Fiancée américaine, we can see why. A book with enormous wingspan and a wonderfully dark wit, this novel offers a panoramic view of the twentieth century…” (World Literature Today)

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

“Dupont said he was thrilled with McCambridge’s rendering of his words, saying if he had the vocabulary in English, he would like to write just like him.” (The Canadian Press)

“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 – Book of the Month for July)

“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)

“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