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When We Lost Our Heads
When We Lost Our Heads: A Novel | Heather O'Neill
13 posts | 8 read | 9 to read
From the bestselling author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel, a spellbinding story about two young women whose friendship is so intense it not only threatens to destroy them, it changes the course of history Marie Antoine is the charismatic, spoiled daughter of a sugar baron. At age twelve, with her pile of blond curls and unparalleled sense of whimsy, shes the leader of all the children in the Golden Mile, the affluent strip of nineteenth-century Montreal where powerful families live. Until one day in 1873, when Sadie Arnett, dark-haired, sly and brilliant, moves to the neighbourhood. Marie and Sadie are immediately inseparable. United by their passion and intensity, they attract and repel each other in ways that set them both on fire. Marie, with her bubbly charm, sees all the pleasure of the world, whereas Sadies obsession with darkness is all-consuming. Soon, their childlike games take on the thrill of danger and then become deadly. Forced to separate, the girls spend their teenage years engaging in acts of alternating innocence and depravity, until a singular event unites them once more, with devastating effects. After Marie inherits her fathers sugar empire and Sadie disappears into the citys gritty underworld, the working class begins to foment a revolution. Each woman will play an unexpected role in the events that upend their citythe only question is whether they will find each other once more. From the beloved Giller Prize-shortlisted author who writes like a sort of demented angel with an uncanny knack for metaphor (Toronto Star), When We Lost Our Heads is a page-turning novel that explores gender and power, sex and desire, class and status, and the terrifying strength of the human heart when it cant let someone go.
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parasolofdoom
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August.

Faves:
* I'm Glad My Mom Died
* The Queen of the Cicadas
* Harrow the Ninth
* The Book Eaters
* Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
* Clown in a Cornfield 2
* When We Lost Our Heads

review
Lindy
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Pickpick

Dark, funny and subversive. This fairytale-like novel set in 19th c Montreal has playful parallels to the French Revolution, transposing male historical figures into female characters. The frenemies around which the plot swirls show how passionate & how cruel girls can be to each other. Women‘s labour rights are another important aspect to the story; combined with the lesbian erotic elements, it brings Tipping the Velvet to mind. #CanLit #LGBTQ

34 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Lindy
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George was filled with a rage she had never felt before. It sprouted thorny branches out of her heart. She had no idea rage was in the heart. She imagined it would be somewhere in the brain. She had felt many emotions in her stomach before. That was where sadness always seemed to be.

Penny_LiteraryHoarders Isn‘t this a story only O‘Neill could write? I really liked it! 4mo
Lindy @Penny_LiteraryHoarders I agree that nobody except O‘Neill can write this blend of playful darkness. I really liked it too. It‘s on my Giller longlist 😊 4mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @Lindy I‘m definitely keen to see if the judges put it there. I would for sure. 4mo
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Lindy @Penny_LiteraryHoarders And speaking of longlist possibilities, tomorrow I will be starting a buddy read of 4mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @Lindy I hope you like it! And that I didn‘t hype it too much but I really loved so many of the stories and the writing. 4mo
Lindy @Penny_LiteraryHoarders Bring on the hype! Meanwhile, I‘m really enjoying another Giller-contender short story collection: 4mo
Penny_LiteraryHoarders @Lindy okay off to see if the library is bringing this one in! 4mo
39 likes7 comments
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Lindy
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Her quill moved furiously, like the tail of a fox that was halfway down a rabbit hole murdering a family.

Lindy Image: detail from painting by Sherry Farrell Racette on the cover of 4mo
29 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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She had embroidered an anatomically correct heart on it. “When I laid eyes on what a heart actually looked like, much about affection and love made sense to me. Because love is quite grotesque when you think about it. We try to make it very neat and symbolic. But this is what it looks like.”
(Internet photo)

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Lindy
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He had been told by a doctor that the best cure for nervous anxiety in women was to take them out to the fresh air. They could sit in the sunshine and wiggle their toes and not worry about fashion. Louis also felt there was something more natural about women. He thought they belonged in nature: in fields of flowers, milking goats and holding sheep in their arms.
(Image: Marie Antoinette as a dairymaid, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun)

AlaMich Ah, yes, toe-wiggling, the well-known cure for anxiety!!! 4mo
Soubhiville @AlaMich 🤣 I‘m willing to try it, lol! 4mo
AlaMich @Soubhiville If only it worked!!!!!!! 4mo
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Lindy @AlaMich @Soubhiville Toe-wigglers, unite! 🦶😂 4mo
KathyR This cure for anxiety seems like a vast improvement over most "cures" for women. 4mo
Lindy @KathyR Yep! 4mo
42 likes1 stack add6 comments
review
Kazzie
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This was interesting. She has a very distinct style. No one character was all good or all bad. I felt like lots of people “got what was coming to them” Telling the narrative of revolution by workers through the lens of women was very good

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MysticFaerie
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Pickpick

5⭐/5⭐

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Rhondareads
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Heather O‘Neill has written another unique wild character driven novel.From the opening scene two young girls one blond one dark holding pistols and the wild story begins.

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Penny_LiteraryHoarders
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Pickpick

A book only Heather O‘Neill could write. A fantastical, wonderful absurd look at class, gender, sexuality and female friendships. A similar theme in O‘Neill‘s books is ever present here - the rights of girls and women and the violence of men towards girls and women. It‘s excellent.

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Lindy
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I just watched a book launch for Heather O‘Neill‘s new novel. The story begins with a pair of 12-year-old girls dueling with pistols… and I want to read it RIGHT NOW!

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Penny_LiteraryHoarders
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Forecast is calling for a big snow storm for tomorrow. A multi-day one! My library is getting me ready for a potential snow day or two!! Two holds came in today. First up has to be Heather O‘Neill‘s since it‘s a 7-day loan only.

Lindy Ooh! Looking forward to your thoughts on O‘Neill‘s. 8mo
36 likes2 comments
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Mpcacher
Pickpick

O'Neill has once again captured the role of the downtrodden woman in this new novel set in the late 1800's in Montreal. This time we see the contrast between the grandeur of those born to wealth and the despair of those who are not. It deals with the rights of women, factory workers, sexual freedoms and gender roles. It also is a fascinating story. I found it weirdly wonderful and a great read if you like that kind of thing. 4.5/5 stars.