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The American Fiancée

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  828 ratings  ·  142 reviews
In this extraordinary breakout novel—a rich, devastatingly humorous epic of one unforgettable family—award-winning author Eric Dupont illuminates the magic of stories, the bonds of family, and the twists of fate and fortune to transform our lives.

Over the course of the twentieth century, three generations of the Lamontagnes will weather love, passion, jealousy, revenge,
Hardcover, 672 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by HarperVia (first published October 1st 2012)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Penny (Literary Hoarders)
For a prize that awards the best in Canadian fiction, the Giller Prize should easily go to Songs for the Cold of Heart! Amazing fiction and storytelling, and the translation is impeccable - it maintained the eloquence and lyricism in Dupont's writing.

This is very John Irving-esque - if you loved A Prayer for Owen Meany, Hotel New Hampshire and The World According to Garp you should most certainly fall in love with Songs for the Cold of Heart.

It brings in the opera, Tosca, often - I need to go
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-con, 2018
Nothing is so foreign to the heart of a tormented lover than seeing the pain of absence disappear, as though her heart had been fuelled by this angst ever since she first laid eyes on Madeline from behind the willow hedge. Now she would have to work on getting the ban lifted on visiting the Lamontagne house. The two girls threw snowballs at each other and slid along Rue Fraserville's steep sidewalks, breaking into a song for the cold of heart as they revelled in winter's arrival right down to
Shawn Mooney (Shawn The Book Maniac)
After a strong start, this devolved into a cesspool of incoherent, inane nonsense that added up to nothing worth continuing with. At about the 40% mark an abortion doctor slips on a pressed rose once belonging to Callas while chasing the girl whose bass clef birthmark had distracted him from the abortion he was to provide: giving zero you-know-whats about any of it, I did too. Aborted, that is. Just awful.
Laura Frey (Reading in Bed)
It's probably more of a 4.5, but I'm so into all the echoes of my favorite john Irving book that I can't think straight ...more
Peter McCambridge
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This has been in the works for a long time, but SONGS FOR THE COLD OF HEART, my translation of Eric Dupont's "La Fiancée américaine," is finally out today!
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a pretty ferocious reader i sometimes can pound through a book in a day or two, a week at most. But that isn't necessarily the best approach for every book and that certainly is the case for grand family sagas like Eric Dupont's Giller shortlisted tome, Songs for the Cold of Heart, which I took a good two months to finish.

Following a small town Quebecois family, the Lamontanges, from the First World War to turn of the Century, Dupont pays homage to how we recount our past, how we tell our
Songs for the Cold of Heart was shortlisted for this year’s Giller Prize, but it lost out to Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black. We chose it as our Shadow Giller winner — a totally unanimous decision.

Quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before, this doorstop of a novel is epic in scope and unrivalled in ambition, one that makes for a truly immersive reading experience.

Full of vivid, well-drawn characters and wonderfully evoked settings, it’s a tale that spans several generations of the one
QC Fiction
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Coming soon as Songs For The Cold Of Heart from QC Fiction.
Allison ༻hikes the bookwoods༺
This is a long book with remarkable storytelling and a complex web of characters spanning four generations and multiple countries. I enjoyed it so much, I would love to read it again someday, now that I know how everything comes together in the end.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't decide between 4 and 5 stars, so I'm settling on 4.5. The publisher's characterization of this book as "a big fat whopper of a tale" is apt. It's a long, meandering, but thoroughly agreeable, entertaining journey through several generations of a family from rural Quebec -- sometimes historical fiction, sometimes magical realism. The shift to epistolary narrative part way through the book was a little jarring and unexpected, but then again, so is the story of the Lamontagnes as a whole. ...more
Tom Mooney
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Beat me at the 25% mark I'm afraid. I should have known I'd never get through anything this long.
Having said that, I can see some people LOVING this. It is a very detailed - and beautifully translated - family drama that celebrates great storytelling.
But it is MASSIVE.
Mary Anne
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A whopping great story, that twists and turns, and keeps secrets until they are ripened. It is not for the faint of heart who quit a large canvas too quickly, but is for those who like a big book of the mostly real mixed with mysteries of the human heart.
Peter McCambridge
LA FIANCÉE AMÉRICAINE has long been on my mind and in my heart. Now it's at last on its way out into the world in my translation as SONGS FOR THE COLD OF HEART, a finalist for the 2018 Giller Prize.
QC Fiction
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
SONGS FOR THE COLD OF HEART is firmly in the QC Fiction tradition of fun, well-written, page-turning fiction. Out today!

And the advance praise has been pouring in too...

“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
James Fisher
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, québec
Full review here of the English translation "Songs for the Cold of Heart":
The good folks at QC Fiction supplied me with an Advance Reading Copy and I discoveredSongs for the Cold of Heartto be an epic, rambling, decades-spanning, vastly entertaining book. It even had its educational moments, particularly about Germany during WWII and classical music. If you read only one fiction book this year, make it this one. Five stars at Goodreads. Great summer reading novel,
Québec Reads
La Fiancée américaine (The American fiancée) is an epic, a playful, quirky family saga that takes in all of the 20th century, from parochial Rivière-du-Loup to Dachau, post-GDR Berlin, New York City, Rome, and Japan. It has been favourably compared to Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks, and Dupont himself to John Irving and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. High praise indeed.

Read our full review and a long extract in translation to find out why:
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Songs for the Cold of Heart, an epic and unforgettable work of fiction, follows the LaMontagne family over a period of 100 years. The several protagonists are an odd collection of nuns, undertakers, polish refugees, alienated children and hard-nosed mothers all of whom are linked in a fascinating story that takes us all over the world. Songs for the Cold of Heart is Eric Dupont’s fourth of five novels.

Louis LaMontagne is a storyteller. This novel starts with Louis describing his birth and his
Kathryn Ney
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Éric Dupont's Songs for the Cold of Heart (La Fiancée Américaine) is a multi-generational epic ripe with unexpected allusions and parallels. Providing a vivid portrait of rural, mid-century Quebec, this multilayered, episodic account of the Lamontagnes and their descendants ultimately spans over both sides of the Atlantic as well as over a century of emotional trauma and political strife.

The novel’s resemblance to the opera Tosca as well as its repeated analogies to writers, artists, and figures
Never Without a Book
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The American Fiancee by Eric Dupont took me three days to complete and I am happy to say it was worth it. In this novel we follow three generations of the Lamontagnes family. I’m not even sure how to describe what happens here, but what I will say is Dupont’s prose are beautiful and the second half of the book had to be my favorite. This book isn’t for everyone, but if you take your time with it, I know you will enjoy it.

Thank you HarperCollins/HarperVia, for gifting this ARC via Netgalley in
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful novel. "The American Fiancee" is un-put-downable, deep rich, funny, charming, filled with fascinating characters who you can't learn enough about. Awesome writing, great translation. Thank God Eric Dupont has another long, lovely novel to enjoy--"Songs for the Cold of Heart."

Thanks Edelweiss and HarperVia for letting me read and review this marvellous book.

~~Candace Siegle, Greedy Reader
Bryan Buchan
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a huge story, labelled as a"tall tale" in the cover blurb. Certainly the implausible coincidences that proliferate throughout stretch truth to the breaking point, but that's not the most important thing. Dupont draws magnetic characters and paints magnificent settings. Above all, the message rings true. A classic.
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably closer to a 4.5 star read for me - I just loved this book.
It is so big, grand, epic, sweeping, surreal and all words of the same ilk, and very funny too.
So odd, charming and larger than life, I've never enjoyed meandering more!
Rachel Dziver
May 16, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish this book and not sure I will. Way too long for the storey that was being told. Hard time keeping engaged.
Helen Goodchild
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At times funny, dark, tragic, but always a compelling, whirlwind of a journey. Very satisfying fiction.
Adam Adams
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took a while to get through (no fault of the book). It was great!!
Mary Curran
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant! Epic literature with an obvious Quebecois flavour and a tinge of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s supernaturalism. Great read!
Steve B.
3.5* Was about 200 pages too long.

Great first half. Boring middle chapters. Frantic end to piece it all together and salvage the story.

This is a storytellers story! Historical fiction meets Fantasy. Nazi Germany meets Alice in Wonderland. Not for everybody but it has its enjoyable moments.

It's a bit all over the place, and there were times when I almost abandoned it altogether, but I stuck with it to see how it would end. I wouldn't say it was predictable however the connections of past and
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My interest flagged a couple times, but Dupont changed the narrator and style--as well as the generation of family featured--at just the right times. Recommended for readers interested in Québeçois tall tales including magic realism-lite.
Friederike Knabe
Interesting read but I found it a bit uneven, some sections less engaging than others. Apparently, it would read differently in the French original.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, canada
A long, rambling, multi- generation story of a Quebec family. Many larger than life characters, at least a little magical realism, and some WWIi Germany. Towards the end there's a weird and not totally satisfying shift to epistolary, where the two brothers of the third generation reveal their past and some backstory in letters which are more like diaries. And then a section which ties up all (most?) If the loose ends... Which is either a relief or a little too facile, or both... I'm still ...more
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Eric Dupont est né à Amqui (Gaspésie) en 1970. Il est l'auteur de Voleurs de sucre
(2004), La Logeuse (2006), Bestiaire (2007) et La Fiancée américaine (2012). Il enseigne la traduction à l'Université McGill. // Eric Dupont is an author, teacher and translator who lives in Montreal. His French-language novel La Logeuse won the Combat des livres. He was a finalist for both the Prix littéraire
“Cet inconnu me regarde pendant que j'éprouve une émotion ; vite cessons ce spectacle indigne” 2 likes
“le sommeil d'un homme est chose sacrée.” 2 likes
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