Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Family Life


by (author) Claudia Dey

Initial publish date
Jul 2021
Family Life
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price
    $31.00 USD
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2018
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


A “Most Anticipated” book in Publishers Weekly, The Millions, 49th Shelf and Quill & Quire

A “Buzz Book” in Chatelaine, Flare and Canadian Living

A Buzzfeed Best Book

“A dark star of a book.” —Lauren Groff

“I loved its every page.” —Sheila Heti

A missing mother. An isolated community. Three storytellers you will never forget

Seventeen years after falling from a stolen car into a remote northern town, Billie Jean Fontaine is still an outsider. Although she follows the stifling rules of this odd place, no one can forget that she came from elsewhere. When Billie Jean vanishes one cold October night in her bare feet and track suit, taking 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 one holding a different piece of the puzzle, they must come together in order 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.


About the author

Claudia Dey is a graduate of McGill and the National Theatre School. Her plays, Beaver (2000), The Gwendolyn Poems (2002) and Trout Stanley (2005) have been performed in Toronto, Montreal, New York and Vancouver. The Gwendolyn Poems was shortlisted for the 2002 Governor Generalâ??s Literary Award and a Trillium Award. Dey also the author of the acclaimed novel Stunt.

Claudia Dey's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“I want Van Halen to write the soundtrack and the Coen brothers to make the movie. It plays out as a vivid, tender, complex magic. A totally compulsive, singular and wild read. The people in this book are so alive, and the book itself feels unthinkably new.”

Leslie Feist, musician

“A whole-cloth, word-for-word triumph.”

<em>Publishers Weekly</em> <strong>(starred review)</strong>

“This book gave me chills all the way through...It convinced me that the deepest of human urges is the pull to find one’s true home—which lies in the hearts of just a few others. I floated in the perfection of its ending... I loved its every page.”

Sheila Heti, author of <em>Motherhood</em> and <em>How Should a Person Be?</em>

Heartbreaker is a dark star of a book, glittering with mordant humor and astonishing, seductive strangeness and grace. I am a giant fan of Claudia Dey’s wild brain.”

Lauren Groff, author of <em>Fates and Furies</em>

“An enticing page-turner.”

<em>Canadian Living</em>

Heartbreaker makes high and hilarious art from the emotional pop-rocks and glittery junk of a certain way of being young. And vulnerable. Also, it has one of the most awesome dogs in literature. A thrillingly original, wholly spellbinding and luminous novel.”

Rivka Galchen, author of <em>American Innovations</em>

A ”Most Anticipated” book in Publishers Weekly, The Millions, 49th Shelf and Quill & Quire
A “Buzz Book” in Chatelaine, Flare and Canadian Living


“A mashup of “Stranger Things” and “Martha Marcy May Marlene.”

The Hollywood Reporter

Heartbreaker is an incandescent flare of a novel—acrobatic, devastating, and wickedly funny. It is effortlessly sly and fresh in its language, and I loved it.”

Sophie Mackintosh, author of <em>The Water Cure</em>

“What a completely thrilling novel!  In its story, people, vision, sentences and fervor—in its pure intelligence and unbridled bravery—it stands apart. With Heartbreaker, the literary landscape is forever changed.”

Barbara Gowdy, author of <em>Little Sister</em>

“Imagine a funnier, but more sinister, offspring of Peyton Place and Never Let Me Go, and you approximate the world of this stunning new novel. Claudia Dey’s beautiful, off-kilter music has been missing from our literary landscape for too long — a most welcome return.” 

Michael Redhill, Giller prize-winning author of <em>Bellevue Square</em>, <em>Consolation</em> and <em>Fidelity</em>

“This book is beautifully written, profoundly strange, a perfect balancing act of dark and light. Part thriller, part love story, part coming-of-age novel, it broke my heart and then put it back together again.” 

Claire Cameron, author of <em>The Bear</em> and <em>The Last Neanderthal</em>

“Devoted, as I am, to the oddities of northern, remote lands, I could not put this book down. In turns, hilarious and harrowing, Heartbreaker’s icy exactitude is direct, disturbed and entirely splendid.”

Samantha Hunt, author of <em>The Dark Dark</em>, <em>Mr. Splitfoot</em> and <em>The Invention of Everything Else</em>

“I was kidnapped by this novel. Original, alluring and memorable, Claudia Dey’s Heartbreaker will get under your skin. An electrifying story about buried pasts, dark secrets and dangerous loves that shimmers and sparks.”

Iain Reid, author of <em>I’m Thinking of Ending Things</em>

“Behold the virtuosity of Heartbreaker! Claudia Dey has a perfect ear and the sharpest eye. Her portrait of Pony Darlene Fontaine, and the strange world she inhabits, is devastating, unsparing and unforgettable.”

Miriam Toews, author of <em>All My Puny Sorrows</em> and <em>A Complicated Kindness</em>

Other titles by Claudia Dey

Related lists