While on vacation with her family in Valencia, Claire Halde witnesses a shocking event that becomes the catalyst for a protracted downward spiral and a profound personal unravelling as she struggles to come to grips with her role in the incident.

This haunting novel, which unfolds across three timelines set in as many decades, takes the reader on a dark journey through the minds of three women whose pasts, presents, and futures are decided by a single encounter on a scorching summer afternoon.

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A quest for missing pieces and resolution

A World Literature Today Notable Translation for 2021

Finalist, Prix Ringuet
Shortlisted, Rendez-vous du premier roman

Written by Annie Perreault
Translated by Ann Marie Boulanger
216 pages • 978-1-77186-237-0 • 8.5″ x 5.5″
Publication Date: March 15, 2021

“You were pure ice. An indifferent witness to the stranger’s distress, watching the events unfold in an inexplicable fog.”


Translations of French novels by Quebec authors don’t always hit the mark in English Canada. The Woman in Valencia does . . . These emotions, which many of us have known in life, make the novel and characters very accessible and draw us into the story, if only for a brief time. Perreault certainly has demonstrated an exceptional talent for this genre of fiction-writing, and her translator, Boulanger, impeccable work in rendering the novel into English . . . If and when Perreault picks up the pen to write a new novel, I will eagerly read it. For the time being, I will nurture the tender strokes of unhappiness, the shadowy outcomes and the enduring characters of the women in her first novel.” (Ian Thomas Shaw, The Ottawa Review of Books)

A Globe and Mail recommendation to mark Women in Translation Month

“In candid, free-flowing prose, Perreault explores through [three women] the multiple meanings running can have: both as a means of escape and also a way to push yourself forward.” (Jade Colbert, The Globe and Mail)

“a dark debut . . . Bewitching sentences tend to flow out of Quebec, and Perreault’s novel is full of them.” (Rose Hendrie, Literary Review of Canada)

“Perreault excels at creating a sense of place; she makes Valencia feel barren, hot, arid, menacing, and impenetrable … [a] promising debut novel.” (Jacqueline Snider, Library Journal)

“The Woman in Valencia is a wonderful story containing far more questions than answers, and Boulanger has done a great job with Perreault’s novel in what is her first full work of literary translation.” (Tony Malone, Tony’s Reading List)

“QC Fiction, the Canadian imprint that specialises in translating French fiction into English, continues to be innovative: every title in their catalogue is stimulating to read . . . For a while I thought this would have been better as a long short story, but as the various strands of narrative assembled themselves I began to appreciate the author’s artistry. Her focus is on the feelings and impulses of her main characters: we get right inside their heads, and the intensity of their emotions is palpable . . . The translation, as always with QC titles, is excellent: idiomatic and smooth.” (Simon Lavery, Tredynas Days)

“This was a quick read but certainly a remarkable one. It is a book that reflects the human condition well and makes us want to refer to other readers with glee. Well-crafted and thought-provoking, The Woman in Valencia will certainly be a noted novel of the 2021 season.” (Steven Buechler, The Library of Pacific Tranquility)

“some of the best-penned psychological insights into a tortured mind as I’ve come across in some time . . . I truly savoured reading The Woman in Valencia, being fully drawn into Claire’s mind through her thoughts, actions, and inactions.” (James M. Fisher, The Miramichi Reader)

“a book on the human condition . . . a close look at grief, depression, and how it can affect us all and how one event can lead to so many changes in so many lives. It is a book where the female characters leap off the page.” (Stuart John Allen, Winstondad’s Blog)

A resounding success! . . . an author to watch out for.” (Josée Boileau, Journal de Montréal)

“a thought-provoking read, I particularly enjoyed it because of my close association with Valencia.” (Tina, Trip Fiction)

“A novel in which inaction and avoidance collide, in a masterfully fictionalized retelling of a real-life event experienced by the author. As disturbing as it is moving.” ★★★★★ (Isabelle Houde, Le Droit)

“With pitch-perfect prose and an ear for rhythm, Annie Perreault explores the physical and psychological ramifications of anxiety with intelligence and sensitivity.” (Anne-Frédérique Hébert-Dolbec, Le Devoir)

“With her finely honed writing style, the author explores the themes of avoidance, powerlessness in the face of incomprehension, and empathy as a middle ground.” (Mario Cloutier, La Presse+)

“A beautiful novel that deftly addresses the themes of empathy, indifference, and attachment.” (Nathalie Roy, Salut Bonjour Weekend)

“Alternating between tragedy and light, this debut novel forces the reader to question their own sense of compassion and empathy.” (Claudia Larochelle, L’actualité)

“A beautiful novel and an engaging style that stays with the reader.” (Yvon Paré, Littérature du Québec)

Photo credit: Christian Gates St-Pierre


Annie Perreault lives in Montreal and graduated from McGill University with a degree in Russian studies and French literature. The Woman in Valencia is her first novel. It was shortlisted for the Rendez-vous du premier roman and was a finalist for the prestigious Prix Ringuet. Her 2015 collection of short stories L’occupation des jours received an Honourable Mention from the Prix Adrienne-Choquette, and she is a previous winner of the Grand Prix littéraire Radio-Canada for best short story.


Photo credit: Chris Paine


Raised in the Laurentian town of Rawdon, Quebec, Ann Marie returned to her native Montreal to pursue a BA in translation at Concordia University and has worked as a commercial translator since 1999. She is the owner of Traduction Proteus Inc., a certified translator, a mentor for aspiring members of her professional order, and a part-time lecturer in translation studies at McGill University’s School of Continuing Studies. She earned an MA in translation studies from Concordia in 2018. The Woman in Valencia is her first literary translation.



✓ A first novel translated by a first-time literary translator