“Every decent friendship comes with a drop of hatred. But that hatred is like honey in the tea. It makes it addictive.”
Charismatic Marie Antoine is the daughter of the richest man in 19th century Montreal. She has everything she wants, except for a best friend—until clever, scheming Sadie Arnett moves to the neighborhood. Immediately united by their passion and intensity, Marie and Sadie attract and repel each other in ways that thrill them both. Their games soon become tinged with risk, even violence. Forced to separate by the adults around them, they spend years engaged in acts of alternating innocence and depravity. And when a singular event brings them back together, the dizzying effects will upend the city.
Traveling from a repressive finishing school to a vibrant brothel, taking readers firsthand into the brutality of factory life and the opulent lives of Montreal’s wealthy, When We Lost Our Heads dazzlingly explores gender, sex, desire, class, and the terrifying power of the human heart when it can’t let someone go.
About the Author
Heather O'Neill is a novelist, poet, short-story writer, screenwriter, and essayist. Her internationally-acclaimed books include The Lonely Hearts Hotel and The Girl Who Was Saturday Night. Her debut novel Lullabies for Little Criminals was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. O'Neill lives in Montreal with her daughter.
“A dazzling, delicious dream…penned with equal parts arsenic-laced icing and blood. There are marvels and dark delights on every page as O’Neill masterfully unfurls the lifelong love affair of Sadie and Marie, whose tale is illuminated by the triumphs of female desire over the crushing designs of men. The spell this novel casts is irresistible.” —Mona Awad, author of All’s Well
“I am struggling to say how much I loved this book…It is a beautiful, alarming, outraged, outrageous, dancing, laughing, shrieking, bellowing, howling, gobbling piece of wonder. What a joy!”—Edward Carey, author of The Swallowed Man