Why must one man perish while another survives? How does losing a sibling at birth affect life? And what are the chances that a fish lost and a cat found will bring our two protagonists together? This sweeping tale of intertwined destinies takes the reader from present-day Montreal to war-torn Italy and back again, with a gruelling march through the frozen Eastern Front of World War II along the way. All the while, secrets burn behind every pair of eyes we meet.

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Written by Mélissa Verreault
Translated by Arielle Aaronson
386 pages • 9781771861199 • 8.5″ x 5.5″
FICTION / Literary
Publication Date: November 15, 2017


quirky and well-observed” (Publishers Weekly)

“What starts like a frothy romance turns into something much more serious and substantial, and the novel has some original and stirring revelations about the human condition, and a moving depiction of redemption and reconciliation emerging out of deep suffering. (…) This is one of the most painful descriptions of war’s cruelties and the suffering human beings can inflict on each other that I’ve ever read.” (Simon Lavery, Tredynas Days)

“Mélissa Verreault has created a constellation of a novel; written in three parts, each with a tone wholly distinct from the others, and bookended by sets of family letters, readers are taken from Montreal to a POW camp in World War II. With colorful prose, Behind The Eyes We Meet is a story of fates entwined and the unviewed internal lives of others.” (World Literature Today)

“A noteworthy addition to QC Fiction’s select catalogue, Behind The Eyes We Meet describes the impact of war from the viewpoint of a POW, one that is no longer fighting a visible enemy, but fighting for the memories of home and family.” (The Miramichi Reader)

“Guiding us through such poignantly rendered stories of love and loss, Verreault’s most important premise seems to be that there is a distinct individual story behind the eyes of everyone we meet, and that those stories are what bring our humanity to light, even in the darkest of circumstances.” (Bronwyn Averett, Necessary Fiction)

“Mélissa Verreault has given free rein to her fascination for Italy, history, childhood, the impossible, and humanity at its most unifying and fragile.” (Marie-France Bornais, Journal de Montréal)

“A vast and solid novel.” (Josée Lapointe, La Presse+)


Photo: Sophie Gagnon-Bergeron

Mélissa Verreault was born in 1983. She has a master’s degree in translation from Université Laval in Quebec City and lives in Lévis with her Italian husband and their triplets. She has published three novels in French, all with La Peuplade: Voyage Léger (Prix France-Québec finalist, 2012), L’angoisse du poisson rouge (Prix des libraires du Québec finalist, 2015), and Les voies de la disparition (2016), as well as a collection of short stories. Behind The Eyes We Meet is the English translation of L’angoisse du poisson rouge, her first novel to be translated.



Arielle Aaronson has a diploma in Translation Studies from Concordia University and an M.A. in Second Language Education from McGill University. Her first translation, 21 Days in October, was published by Baraka Books in 2013 and she co-translated Listening for Jupiter, also from QC Fiction, earlier this year.


✓ Modern-day love story meets World War II’s Russian front