Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack


Fate, circumstance, and the symbolism of sight collide in this modern gothic novel spanning the shores of Lake Ontario to post-war Berlin between the 1960s and 1980s.

On a hot June day in 1965, two six-year-old boys, Gareth and Jack, compete to see who can climb higher up a tree. When Jack falls and loses his eye on a thorn bush, the accident brings about a series of events that will bind the boys together for the rest of their lives.

When the best friends meet albino twins Clara and Blanca, a shared fate unfolds. With Gareth and Jack’s help, the twins are able to reclaim their lives and leave their nightmarish past behind them.

From the shores of Lake Ontario to the hustle of Berlin, from the art of oculary to punk opera, this is a story of dark secrets, suppressed desires, forgiveness, and love.


Even when I finished the book, it seemed that the characters hung around me for days, breaking into my every moment.

Kati Preston, author of From Holocaust to Healing

Original and intriguing.

Lauren B. Davis, author of The Grimoire of Kensington Market

Exquisite writing ... a gorgeous book.

Daniel Baird, founder of The Brooklyn Rail

A brilliant novel with its conceptual expansiveness, its eclectic characters with their quirky attributes, and its erudition and keen observations about so many things. Heidi’s writing is a seamless fusion of poetry and prose.

Jeffrey Side, reviewer and editor, Colorado Review

Captivating revelations, brisk candour, and irreverence… Heidi is a gifted writer.

Charles Pitts, writer and producer at Novalis Films

I don’t think it’s too much to say that Two Queens and the One-Eyed Jack is one of the best novels I have read. 

Thom Ernst, film critic

About the Author

Heidi von Palleske

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 17, 2019

Heidi von Palleske

Heidi von Palleske is a writer, actor, and activist. She has written poetry, articles, and fiction, and won the H.R. Percy Novel Prize for They Don’t Run Red Trains Anymore. Heidi spends time on both the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, but calls Toronto home.