by Claudia Dey
  • critically-acclaimed
  • literary
  • upmarket

A missing mother. An isolated community. Three storytellers you will never forget. A woman’s disappearance shakes up a strange northern town that is stuck in the 1980s. It’s been months since Billie Jean Fontaine left her bedroom, trapped alone by grief. One night, out of the blue, she emerges and announces that she’s going into town–but she never returns. Her husband and daughter undertake a frantic search for the beloved and beautiful Billie Jean. She was the only outsider ever to arrive in this strange town — a town founded decades ago by a charismatic cult leader, cut off from the world ever since, where the residents think the year is 1985, and listen to Whitesnake and Air Supply on their Walkmans. Now the residents wonder: has Billie Jean become the first person to leave, too?

Told from three unforgettable perspectives, Heartbreaker is the electrifying portrait of a woman who has risked everything for freedom and love, and the secrets she leaves in her wake.


Claudia Dey, author

Claudia Dey is the author of the novel Stunt, a Globe & Mail and Quill & Quire "Book of the Year." Her plays have been produced internationally and nominated for the Governor General’s Award and Trillium Book Award. Dey’s writing and interviews have appeared in many publications including The Believer and (forthcoming) The Paris Review. Dey has also worked as a horror film actress and cook in lumber camps across northern Canada, and is co-founder of the design studio and clothing label, Horses Atelier. Claudia lives in Toronto with her musician husband and two sons.


  • Canadian writer Claudia Dey renders 1985 in perfectly crimped, shoulder-padded detail... Come for the Shyamalanian premise. Stay for the hard-rock soundtrack. - Chicago Tribune
  • Dey deepens this dark fantasy through the imaginatively detailed, keen observations of teen narrator Darlene Fontaine, who muses about her place amid this blank landscape while anchoring the proceedings with sly pop-culture references. Dey’s rich prose drives the story with poetic acuteness. - LA Weekly
  • A fierce exploration of memory and zeitgeist peopled by characters named Pony, Supernatural, and The Heavy and partly narrated by the family dog, Heartbreaker is a darkly comedic weirdo of a book that pulls the string of nostalgia from one side while unraveling it from the other. - The Paris Review
  • [T]his is a book like no other. It’s eerie, it’s cult-y, it’s so very exciting, and I never wanted it to end. - Buzzfeed
  • Dey strips away the trappings of modernity to show what humans truly are at base, while eschewing the usual cult narrative. The result is a whole-cloth, word-for-word triumph of imagination. - Publishers Weekly Link to review

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Cooke International

email: Rights@cookeinternational.com

website: https://www.cookeinternational.com/

rights available: World, excl. Canada (HarperCollins Canada); UK (The Borough Press); US (Random House); Italy (Black Coffee)

Additional Information

number of pages: 304

publication date: 08/21/2018

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book