cover image Songs for the Cold of Heart

Songs for the Cold of Heart

Éric Dupont, trans. from the French by Peter McCambridge. QC Fiction, $27.95 trade paper (600p) ISBN 978-1-77186-147-2

Filled with a strong cast of characters and a complex family history, Dupont’s masterful novel spans the 20th century, roaming from rural Quebec of the early 1900s to modern-day Rome. The first half of the book centers around the Lamontagne family, beginning with the tall tales of Louis “the Horse,” a strongman and seducer who fights for the U.S. in WWII. Stretching back in time to the sinfully rich cooking of Louis’s grandmother, Madeleine “the American,” and into the present with his daughter, Madeleine, at the helm of a restaurant chain, the second part of the book focuses on his twin grandsons, Gabriel and Michel, reconnecting through letters and sharing family secrets after a long estrangement . Living in Berlin, Gabriel stumbles upon a missing link in the mysterious Lamontagne lineage—a complicated web of love, passion, jealousy and revenge that leads the entire family to a denouement as dramatic as Tosca, the opera woven throughout the book. Dupont’s signature dark humor and strange whimsy show the impact of the past upon relationships, joining together both strangers and family members in bizarre circumstances. The novel, both heartbreaking and hilarious, is an expansive examination of the beautifully fraught relationship between Europe and North America that speaks to the very nature of family ties. (July)