“How the characters in this story are interconnected is a marvel of storytelling.” — JOHN IRVING
Fate, circumstance, and the symbolism of sight collide in this modern gothic novel.
On a hot June day in 1965, two six-year-old boys, Gareth and Jack, compete to see who can climb higher up a tree. When Jack falls and loses his eye on a thorn bush, the accident sets off a series of events that will bind the boys together for the rest of their lives.
When the best friends meet albino twins Clara and Blanca, a shared fate unfolds. With Gareth and Jack’s help, the twins are able to reclaim their lives and leave their nightmarish past behind them.
From the shores of Lake Ontario to the hustle of Berlin, from the art of oculary to punk opera, this is a story of dark secrets, suppressed desires, forgiveness, and love.
Heidi von Palleske is a writer, actor, and activist. She has written poetry, articles, and fiction, and won the H.R. Percy Novel Prize for They Don’t Run Red Trains Anymore. Heidi spends time on both the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, but calls Toronto home.
Quirky and meticulous, Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack is a literary novel of substantial merit.
Such a title promises an out-of-the-ordinary experience, and author Heidi von Palleske delivers ... This is a dense book with a large field of characters and multiple storylines that required Palleske's deft hand to knit it together.
Lush, raw, poetic and rich. The book uses language to paint a picture. The characters leap off the page. The dialogue is razor-sharp, with both humour and pathos... This book is original, unlike anything I have ever read and I am quite sure that I will return to it many times. A brilliant piece of writing!
This book takes us into the past, dealing with loss and shame and the impulse to forget. But it also looks into the future, with the hope these young people have of starting anew, reinventing themselves and finding new purpose.
Heidi's writing weaves a magical tale, full of fascinating characters, and brimming with unforgettable images, tying together love, pain and mystery.
Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack is an evocative, beautifully written novel that invites the reader to fall under its spell.
A meticulously woven, life-affirming and heartbreaking story that took my breath away.
A brilliant novel with its conceptual expansiveness, its eclectic characters with their quirky attributes, and its erudition and keen observations about so many things. Heidi’s writing is a seamless fusion of poetry and prose.
A deeply engrossing story that keeps you turning the page in this richly cinematic novel. Von Palleske's well etched characters immediately capture your attention and never let it go.
A story so well told it literally takes your breath away. It's weird, wonderful, horrific, heartbreaking, poignant, and hilarious. Heidi von Palleske's brilliant novel takes a collection of entirely oddball, deeply damaged characters and chronicles their strange and intricate destinies with remarkable insight, endless compassion and razor sharp wit. She clearly loves these people and you will too. Read this book and be transported. I sure as hell was.
The research is so deep, the characters so beautifully drawn and so human. The structure, so much flow, so musical. This is a work of very substantial literature. It is nothing short of a staggering work of genius.
Wow! What a symphony for the imagination! A massive accomplishment. Heidi writes the way Monet paints!
Exquisite writing ... a gorgeous book.
"And in the eye is the reflection of the entire world." To read Heidi von Palleske is to feel Milan Kundera walking along the shores of Lake Ontario. Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack is a magnificent story, beginning with the seed of a boyhood blinding and branching out in haunting and surprising directions, all rooted in that seed. Von Palleske has an honest eye, capturing the loss and renewal of human relationships with precision and compassion – much like the lonely ocularist who inhabits her painful yet redemptive world.
High praise for Heidi von Palleske's Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack. It borders on the magical but remains earthly real, it is whimsical but heart-wrenching and it weaves the wonder of being able to awaken all your senses. It will be a novel you will want to read more than once.
Captivating revelations, brisk candour, and irreverence… Heidi is a gifted writer.
A life-changing childhood accident, one that is formative of the adult lives to follow, is a testimony to D.H. Lawrence's view of the novel as 'the highest complex of subtle interrelatedness.' How the characters in this story are interconnected is a marvel of storytelling. This is a novel about the calamitous changes in history, in both personal and national history.
Even when I finished the book, it seemed that the characters hung around me for days, breaking into my every moment.
This novel weaves worlds together. It is not only full of sensual imagery and pinpoint details, but it is brave, and bold, and necessary.
I don’t think it’s too much to say that Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack is one of the best novels I have read.
I loved it. It captured me and I could not put it down. Great original storytelling!
Without exaggeration I am in awe.