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The American Fiancee: A Novel

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  795 ratings  ·  135 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,

Kindle Edition, 608 pages
Expected publication: February 11th 2020 by HarperVia (first published October 1st 2012)
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    The American Fiancée
    Release date: Feb 11, 2020
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    Average rating 4.01  · 
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     ·  795 ratings  ·  135 reviews

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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
    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
    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.
    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
    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
    Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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.
    Friederike Knabe
    Dec 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: canadian-lit
    Interesting read but I found it a bit uneven, some sections less engaging than others. Apparently, it would read differently in the French original.
    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
    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
    Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    It is a very original and mainly entertaining read. Really deserved 3.5 stars. Eric Dupont is a gifted storyteller and has an amazing vocabulary, I learned some new and interesting words. However some parts of the book seemed unnecessary and irritating. The 650 pages could have been streamlined and better structured. I didn't like the letters between the brothers; they did not ring true and events in that part of the story too contrived.
    Steven Langdon
    Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: super
    Overall, the 2018 Giller Prize short-list is one of the best, most diverse set of selections that I can remember -- great job, Giller jury members! There is a wide range of genres, a good mix of writers (three women, two men, with differing backgrounds) and a combination of settings both abroad and in Canada.

    For those of us who read our fiction in English, there is a particular treat -- a translation of one of the most popular Quebec French-language novels of recent years. "Songs for the Cold of
    Oct 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: netgalley, kindle
    Thank you to NetGalley for a Kindle ARC of The American Fiancee.

    I actually read this a few weeks ago. That's how long it took me. And that's a bad thing.

    First, I love the cover. It's beautiful, whimsical, like something you see in a dream and want to chase.

    I'm not going to lie: the cover is what caught my lie and peaked my interest in the book, which is why I requested it.

    The American Fiancee is a weighty tome, a multi-generational tale about the Lamontagnes, including their feisty women,
    Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: 2018
    The first 250 pages deserve 6 stars: brilliant, playful, creative, and so delightfully québécois / French Canadian. The magical realism and strong sense of place and identity remind me of Heather O'Neill's work. I grew up in Montreal and have ancestral roots in the Bas-St-Laurent including Rivière-du-Loup... the writing and storytelling will be enjoyable to everyone, but will probably resonate less if you haven't spent time in Quebec or aren't intimately familiar with québécois / French Canadian ...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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