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Why Men Lie [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

Linden MacIntyre
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 27 2012

This latest novel from Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Linden MacIntyre, Why Men Lie, offers a moving and emotionally complex conclusion to the Cape Breton trilogy.
Two years after the events of The Bishop’s Man, we’re introduced to Effie MacAskill Gillis, sister of the troubled priest Duncan. It’s 1997, and Effie is an independent, middle-aged woman working as a tenured professor of Celtic Studies, but her complicated and often disappointing love life has left her all but ready to give up on the opposite sex. Then suddenly, a chance encounter with a man on a Toronto subway platform gives Effie renewed hope. J.C. Campbell is an old friend she hasn’t seen for more than 20 years – an attractive, single man who appears to possess the stability and good sense she longs for.
Effie met her last husband, Sextus, in her hometown of Cape Breton when the two were still children. As they grew older together, and started a family, she soon learned that when it came to other women, Sextus couldn’t be trusted. After one too many betrayals, Effie leaves him behind, and so when she and J.C. seem to hit it off, his relaxed, open demeanour is a welcome change.
But after a happy start to their relationship, cracks begin to show, and J.C. proves himself to be just as unpredictable as the others: one evening Effie spots him in a seedy part of town, but he denies ever having left his house; when she notices a scratch below his eye, he lies about its cause, blaming it on the cat. Then J.C., a journalist, becomes unhealthily engrossed in a story involving a convict on death row, and he and Effie begin to drift apart.
Although he still checks in sporadically and insists there’s nothing going on, she soon learns he has a deeply personal reason for his covert trips to that seedy downtown street. In fact, it turns out there’s a lot about his past that Effie doesn’t know, and a lot he’s still learning himself.
While J.C. is busy chasing his own past, Effie is rarely able to escape her own. Family ties and hometown connections to Cape Breton mean her two ex-husbands – Sextus happens to be the cousin of her first husband, John – are constantly coming and going in a turbulent mess of comfort and commotion, while her grown daughter, Cassie, brings some unexpected news of her own.
After all of her experience in relationships with men, Effie thought she knew all she needed to about what to expect, and how to maintain her self-sufficiency. Why do men lie?, she wants to know. But whether it’s for love, for protection, or for more selfish reasons, Effie soon learns that no amount of experience can prepare you for what might resurface from the past, and for the damage that might cause, emotionally or otherwise.

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“A novel for our time…relatable.”
Winnipeg Free Press
“Absolutely brilliant…. Why Men Lie has the flavour of a peaty single-malt.”
The Globe and Mail
“Powerful and compelling…. MacIntyre has spent three novels investigating…dark corners of the past, both personal and societal; in Why Men Lie, there may be no answers, but there is at least a hint of light.”
—Robert J. Wiersema, National Post
“A nuanced novel.... There’s an odd, mesmerizing pull to the tale; MacIntyre can build suspense from thin air.... [His] gift is capturing the poetic thrum of life’s unanswered questions and ragged endings. That his book is left with one is the price paid.”
“Treatises on the battle of the sexes are often flawed in execution, but Linden MacIntyre’s new novel rings true.”
—Readers Digest

About the Author

Linden MacIntyre is a co-host of the fifth estate and the winner of nine Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism. His bestselling first novel, The Long Stretch, was nominated for a CBA Libris Award and his boyhood memoir, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, was a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2006, and won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize. His second novel, The Bishop’s Man, was a #1 national bestseller, won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Dartmouth Book Award and the CBA Libris Fiction Book of the Year, and has been published in the U.K. and the U.S. and has been translated into eight languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Capital-G GOOD stuff. A literary page-turner! Nov. 21 2012
Holy crap, this book is a page-turner!

There, that's my unfiltered and unsophisticated first impression of Linden MacIntyre's latest novel. Because I just finished reading it this morning. I had about fifty pages left to read when I got up and could literally not put it down. WHY MEN LIE is MacIntyre's third novel in what is (so far, at least) a trilogy about three core families from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The author, who is a distinguished broadcast journalist for CBC, grew up in that part of Canada and obviously knows it - and its people - very well. That much was evident in the first two novels, Long Stretch and The Bishop's Man, as well as in a very evocative memoir, Causeway.

The three Cape Breton families, two named Gillis and one named MacAskill, all provide central characters in the three novels, although the central character changes in each book. Cousins John and Sextus Gillis are foremost in THE LONG STRETCH. A priest, Father Duncan MacAskill is central to THE BISHOP'S MAN; and his sister, Faye "Effie" MacAskill-Gillis, takes center stage in this newest book, WHY MEN LIE.

Ol' Sir Walter Scott had it right when he wrote "Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practise to deceive." And, while there certainly is a web of lies and half-truths throughout WHY MEN LIE, I'm not entirely sure if that particular question, if it indeed is a question, is ever answered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Feeling about this Book May 17 2013
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Book 3, in the Cape Breton Trilogy

“Why Men Lie”, the last volume in the trilogy is actually an extension to “The Bishop’s Man” (book 2) where Priest Duncan MacAskill , known as the “fixer” was the center figure. This latest features Effie MacAskill- Gillis, Duncan’s sister, as the main player and is set mostly in Toronto and in Cape Breton during the late 1990’s. The story follows further the community and the family saga we have come to know in the previous installments. The central theme in “Why men Lie” is impotence: physical, mental, intellectual as well as sexual and revolves around lies and deception.

Narrated in the third person from Effie’s perspective, the novel chronicles the journey of a middle-aged woman and a highly regarded Celtic scholar making her way into the world of men that has populated her life.

I join those who have mixed feelings about this book. In one hand, this is undeniably a complex, well-crafted novel with excellent prose but on the other hand the plot missed to deliver intrigue successfully. IMO the novel resonates more as a domestic fiction with ever changing series of flashbacks to anything else. Mr. MacIntyre is a master in dialogue and the characters definitely talk a lot, in fact they ramble quite freely, at times in Gaelic. This is a very slow moving story that highlights the author’s love for the east coast and it takes him a long time to make a point. In reality it gave me time to pause and mull over the question “Why men Lie?”……In the book women lie as much……( is that so :))

This novel is interesting in many ways but it was just missing that captivating quality to be invested deeply into it or compelled to keep turning the pages at rapid pace. “Why Men Lie” is definitely not as great as its predecessor “The Bishop Man” but nevertheless worth spending time with.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Outshone by its predecessor Aug. 22 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At first reaction, "Why Men Lie" suffers by comparison with "The Bishop's Man" because the issues at stake are less clear. In the case of "The Bishop's Man" a priest is forced to deeply question his faith when exposed to suppression of the church's dirty little secrets; in "Why Men Lie" the heroine keeps being exposed to new and secretive aspects of her lover's past and present without drawing the conclusions which will prevent a tragedy. As a result, the author has some difficulty in creating and sustaining dramatic tension. There is no pivotal moment, indeed the ending come suddenly and out of the blue. However, "Why Men Lie" enjoys the same lilting prose as its predecessor, the same atmosphere of Celtic doom as indeed it shares many of the characters. Well worth the read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very Canadian novel Sept. 10 2014
By Lorina Stephens TOP 500 REVIEWER
The last in MacIntyre's Cape Breton Trilogy, Why Men Lie completes the fallout from a brutal act in WWII which has haunted the men involved and their families.

In this novel MacIntyre visits the character of Effie Gillis, who lived in silent fear for years, and now as a middle-aged woman attempts to reconcile that past and her own visceral, instinctive reactions to any trigger which might be construed as related.

While it is a story about latent violence both of the spirit and the body, it is also a story of quiet hope, one without blazing moments of epiphany, but rather of muted understanding.

Ultimately a very Canadian novel from a very Canadian writer.

Highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Why they lie, or Why they believe, that is the question
The Bishop’s man’s sister Effie finds herself embroiled in a fifties something love affair with one of the most complicated if not insidiously creepy men to lurk... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Pmac
4.0 out of 5 stars Rhetorical Question?
Don't expect a clear cut answer to this question. This is the third book that Lynden MacIntyre wrote about characters that share a past from Cape Breton, near the Causeway. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Lois Vanderlinden
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book Well Done
This was a well written book. Moved in different directions throughout, and had a surprise ending. I read this through a reading group and everyone loved the book.
Published 16 months ago by Verna Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Voice of a female
The author assumed the voice of a female...challenging but successful. JC remained enigmatic to the end... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Bev Armstrong
4.0 out of 5 stars Why Men Lie
I don't like the story as much as the Bishop's Man. And I'm still reading it..... Have not read the Long Strech yet. I wished you would stop asking me about the books I buy. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Karin Barth
4.0 out of 5 stars Good!
Enjoyed the book. Especially as a Torontonian- the book takes place between Cape Breton and Toronto. Some twists and many interesting characters. Sad overall. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Maya
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A few stories within a story, took a bit of time to sense the rhythm of the book, not the ending I was hoping for. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ferocious Reader
2.0 out of 5 stars A waste of time
This book goes no where with the story telling. If Effie is suppose to have hope, you sure wouldn't know it. There is no happiness and hopefulness. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Susan M. Madden
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring and pointless
Don't waste time on this one...you will never get the time back. It's hard to care about or like any of the characters and its very predictable.
Published 22 months ago by voraciousreader
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Men Lie
I love this story of Cape Breton Nova Scotia. Linden MacIntyre has a lovely way of writing that flows therefore an easy read. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Lea
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