The Bindery hosts Claudia Dey for her American debut, Heartbreaker! With Claudia in conversation is Val Brelinski, author of The Girl Who Slept With God -- please join us!
An isolated town.
The remains of a mysterious cult.
And a woman who disappears.
It's 1985. Pony Darlene Fontaine has lived all her fifteen years in "the territory," a settlement founded decades ago by a charismatic cult leader. In this strange town run on a sinister economic resource, the women crimp their hair and wear shoulder pads, and the teenagers listen to Nazareth and Whitesnake on their Walkmans. Pony's family lives in the bungalow at the farthest edge of town, where the territory borders the rest of the wider world—a place none of the townspeople have ever been.
Except for Billie Jean Fontaine, Pony's mother. When Billie Jean arrived in the territory seventeen years prior—falling from the open door of a stolen car—the residents took her in and made her one of their own. She was the first outsider they had ever laid eyes on. Pony adores and idolizes her mother, but like everyone else in the territory she is mystified by her. Billie Jean refuses to describe the world she came from.
One night, Billie Jean grabs her truck keys, bolts barefoot into the cold October darkness—and vanishes. Beautiful, beloved, and secretive, Billie Jean was the first person to be welcomed into the territory. Now, with a frantic search under way for her missing mother, Pony fears: Will she be the first person to leave it too?
Told from the three unforgettable perspectives of a daughter, a killer dog, and a teenage boy named Supernatural, this novel is startling in its humor and wrenching in its wisdom about the powers, limits, and dangers of love. Heartbreaker is an electrifying page-turner about a woman reinventing herself in order to survive—and a daughter who must race against the clock to untangle the mysteries left in her mother's wake.
"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 Fates and Furies
"Heartbreaker gave me chills all the way through. It is deeply original—in its wildness, its structure, its wisdom, and its world. It convinced me that the deepest of human (and animal) 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 this novel's shining sensitivity. I loved its every page." – Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood and How Should a Person Be?
"Devoted as I am to the oddities of remote northern lands, I could not put this book down. By turns hilarious and harrowing, Heartbreaker's icy exactitude is direct, disturbed, and entirely splendid." – Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark
"I want Van Halen to write the soundtrack and the Coen brothers to make the movie. Heartbreaker 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
"I was kidnapped by this novel. Original, alluring, and memorable, Claudia Dey's Heartbreaker—an electrifying story about buried pasts, dark secrets, and dangerous love that shimmers and sparks—will get under your skin." – Iain Reid, author of I'm Thinking of Ending Things
"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 Atmospheric Disturbances
Claudia Dey is the author of Stunt, a Globe and 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 has appeared in many publications, including The Paris Review and The Believer. She has also worked as a horror film actress and a cook in lumber camps across northern Canada, and is co-designer of Horses Atelier. Claudia Dey lives in Toronto. Heartbreaker is her American debut.
Val Brelinski was born and raised in Nampa, Idaho, the daughter of devout evangelical Christians. From 2003 to 2005, she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, where she was also a Jones Lecturer in fiction writing. She received her MFA from the University of Virginia, and her recent writing has been featured in Vogue, MORE, Salon, VQR, and The Rumpus. She received prizes for her fiction from the San Francisco Chronicle, The Charlottesville Weekly, and The Boise Weekly, and was also a finalist for the ROna Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. Val lives in Northern California and teaches creative writing in Stanford's Continuing Studies Program. Her debut novel is The Girl Who Slept With God.
Please note: this event will be held at The Bindery, 1727 Haight.
Bar opens at 7, event begins at 7:30pm.
If you cannot attend the event but would like to request a signed copy of Heartbreaker, and/or any of Claudia's books, order below and put your request in the comments field.