In this extraordinary breakout novel—a rich, devastatingly humorous epic of one unforgettable family—award-winning author Eric Dupont illuminates the magic of stories, the bonds of family, and the twists of fate and fortune to transform our lives.
Over the course of the twentieth century, three generations of the Lamontagnes will weather love, passion, jealousy, revenge, and death. Their complicated family dynamic—as dramatic as Puccini’s legendary opera, Tosca—will propel their rise, and fall, and take them around the world . . . until they finally confront the secrets of their complicated pasts.
Born on Christmas, Louis Lamontagne, the family’s patriarch, is a larger-than-life lothario and raconteur who inherits his mother’s teal eyes and his father’s brutish good looks and whose charms travel beyond Quebec, across the state of New York where he wins at county fairs as a larger-than-life strongman, and even in Europe, where he is deployed for the US Army during World War II. We meet his daughter, Madeleine, who opens a successful chain of diners using the recipes from her grandmother, the original American Fiancée, and vows never to return to her hometown. And we end with her son Gabriel, another ladies’ man in the family, who falls in love with a woman he follows to Berlin and discovers unexpected connections there to the Lamontagne family that re-frame the entire course of the events in the book.
An unholy marriage of John Irving and Gary Shteyngart with the irresistible whimsy of Elizabeth McCracken, The American Fiancée is a big, bold, wildly ambitious novel that introduces a dynamic new voice to contemporary literature.
Translated from the French by Peter McCambridge.