Books·Canadian

Heartbreaker

Heartbreaker is a novel by Claudia Dey.

Claudia Dey

Seventeen years after falling from a stolen car into a remote northern town, Billie Jean Fontaine is still an outsider. She may follow the stifling rules of this odd place, but no one will forget that she came from elsewhere. When Billie Jean vanishes one cold October night in her bare feet and track suit with only her truck keys, those closest to her begin a frantic search. Her daughter, Pony, a girl struggling against being a teen in the middle of nowhere; her killer dog to whom she cannot tell a lie; her husband, The Heavy, a man haunted by his past; and the charismatic Supernatural, a teenage boy longing only to be average. Each holding a different piece of the puzzle, they must come together to understand the darkest secrets of their beloved, and lay bare the mysteries of the human heart.

With her luminous prose, wry humour and dead-on cultural observations, Claudia Dey has created a storytelling tour de force about what it means to love, no matter the consequences.

Heartbreaker was a finalist for the 2019 Trillium Book Award.

From the book

This is what I know: she left last night. My mother, Billie Jean Fontaine, stood in our front hallway with a stale cigarette in one hand and her truck keys in the other. The light in our hallway was broken or dying so it flickered above her head, throwing shadows across her face. I don't know how long she was standing there watching me.


From Heartbreaker by Claudia Dey. ©2018. Published by HarperCollins Canada.

Why Claudia Dey wrote Heartbreaker

"The book is definitely about being an insider and being an outsider. I've definitely experienced both of those states in my life in terms of my relationships to others and how I'm perceived. I will always prefer to be the lone wolf over being a wolf in a wolf pack. I think that real fire for me throughout my life informed writing Billie, who in the end takes every risk to lead a truthful life and is, we could say, a woman who behaves badly, which I don't think we see enough of in books.

We get to see men behaving badly all the time and it's just supposed to be the most charming thing, whereas women have to be noble and heroic and suffer in silence.- Claudia Dey

"For me, when someone behaves badly they become real. She's also electric and mercurial and charismatic and someone you want to be near, but she cheats and kills and abandons and lies too. We get to see men behaving badly all the time and it's just supposed to be the most charming thing, whereas women have to be noble and heroic and suffer in silence. I just really wanted to blow the whistle on that."

Read more in her interview with CBC Books.

Interviews with Claudia Dey

Amy Millan from Stars on why she loves Claudia Dey's Heartbreaker. 2:01
Claudia talks to Shealgh Rogers about her latest novel Heartbreaker. 16:25

 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now