- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada; 1st Edition edition (March 27 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307360865
- ISBN-13: 978-0307360861
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 635 g
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #236,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Why Men Lie Hardcover – Deckle Edge, Mar 27 2012
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#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
“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.”
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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. But there is a mysterious book-within-a-book here, because Sextus Gillis gives a manuscript of that title to Effie, saying it's a memoir he wants her to read, explaining he's tried to sort out their screwed-up lives in it. And boy are their lives ever tangled. Effie's first husband was John Gillis, Sextus's cousin. Then she ran off to Toronto with Sextus, who was/is, it turns out, an unreformed womanizer. Then she met an older man, Conor (who may have been an undercover IRA terrorist), who becomes her protector/mentor until his death. In the meantime she earns a Ph.D. in Celtic studies and becomes a published scholar and respected university teacher and administrator. By her own admission, several flings and failed relationships followed. Until an old acquantance, JC Campbell, comes back into her life. This new relationship is the axis upon which turns the twisted, surprising, and sometimes downright creepy story of WHY MEN LIE. Because JC, while charming and worldy, has a mysterious and dark side, which tends to erupt in frightening outbursts of anger and violence. He also has a strange obsession with a condemned murderer, a Canadian who has spent twenty years on death row in a Texas prison. JC (whose friends jokingly called him Jesus in his younger days) was always something of an outsider, an apparent bastard child who spent his earliest childhood in a remote lumber camp where his mother was the cook.
But when he and Effie reconnect he is in his fifties and a respected broadcast journalist. The two fall into a passionate affair, but JC remains secretive and closed off and often disappears for days and weeks at a time. Gradually Effie learns some things about JC's hard-knock life, and begins to share her own checkered past too. They make trips back to Cape Breton together, where the ghosts of Effie's own past crowd around her, and a few from JC's too. He has an illegitimate daughter and even, as it turns out, a granddaughter. There is a murder, and, later, a mysterious death. There are muggings, beatings and robberies. And always lies and half-truths.
A truly 'tangled web,' I'm tellin' ya. Can any of this end happily? Well, if you are looking for a "happily-ever-after" kinda story, this is not the book for you. But if you are looking for a serious, gripping, written-for-grownups can't-put-it-down and can't-quite-figure-it-out kinda book, then you will definitely devour WHY MEN LIE. It is also filled with the particular regional flavors of Toronto and Cape Breton. MacIntyre has lived in these places. He has absorbed them through his pores and reproduced them faithfully in his writing. I mean this is capital-G Good Canadian capital-L Literature.
While I can't promise you a happy ending with WHY MEN LIE, I was struck by a line near the book's end where Effie drags herself out of bed, saddened beyond words.
"And suddenly it came to her, as if in his voice. 'Get up,' the voice said. 'Move on. You are the custodian of hope.'"
These hopeful lines made me wonder if there might still be another book featuring these marvelously realized characters. I hope so. I've tried hard to avoid any 'spoilers' here, because there is mystery, there is suspense here. And just when you think you have figured something - or someone - out, something else is added to the mix and you're back to square one. This is simply top-notch writing and one hell of a good book. And you should read the other two books. It doesn't matter if you read them in order. Each book stands alone very well. Linden MacIntyre's fiction is GOOD. HIGHLY recommended.
- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER
“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.
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.
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