Why Men Lie

Why Men Lie

Book - 2012
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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.

Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2012
ISBN: 9780307360861
Branch Call Number: MACI
Characteristics: 368 p. ; 24 cm

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Suesanista
Jun 07, 2015

If you liked the Bishop's Man you will like this book. It is crafted in the same style: much is left unsaid, some events remain ambiguous, the story takes some surprising turns. A compelling read.

brianreynolds Jul 29, 2012

Irrespective of what is, in my opinion, good or bad about it, <i>Why Men Lie?</i> is thought provoking.

McIntyre, in all three of his books about (mainly) three families from Cape Breton’s Long Stretch area, presents his story like the reader is overhearing a conversation in a pub. The narrative is life-like. Like real conversations, they are obscured by innuendo, by omission, deception, interruption and non-verbal communication, all of which make the narrative challenging. The big revelations are to some extent undercut by keeping the readers out of the loop, keeping them cocking an ear to catch what’s going on at the table in the spotlight. The cast of characters that wander though the trilogy, though marvelously intriguing, is long: some having the same name, partnerships evolving and revolving, the past and present swirling together in the same glass of scotch.

Nevertheless, the story moves. It touches nerves perhaps by design or perhaps because in real life nerves get randomly touched. I agree with those who recommend reading <i>The Long Stretch</i> first not because it illuminates <i>Why</i> so well, but because it adds yet another layer of reality to the drama. In the end, however, it is fiction, bearing the truth that fiction bears. In the end, there is syzygy. A baby is born. The characters are cobbled into pairs (though dressed in funeral garb rather than wedding apparel. Close enough.) There is the hope that “Truth” has somehow set things right at long last. The world around that table in the pub seems crumbling. The characters are surrounded by ghosts of abuse, addiction, deception, aggression and infidelity. But in the end, the Long Stretch itself, like some mythical Celtic balm, seems able to protect them and offer them hope.

p
pammiedawn
Jul 15, 2012

Enjoyed this novel (as I did MacIntyre's previous two novels) but found there was just a bit too much going on. In the end, many unquestioned answers and perhaps these will be addressed in a future novel featuring JC. Will wait for it!

AnneDromeda May 19, 2012

Fans of CanLit likely remember Linden MacIntyre’s 2009 Giller Prize win for *The Bishop’s Man*, the second novel in his Cape Breton triology. Having made readers wait 10 years between the trilogy’s opener, *The Long Stretch,* and his prize-winning follow-up, MacIntyre evidently felt a rush to move on with the final novel in the trilogy, *Why Men Lie.* Was the rush worthwhile?<br />

It’s a provocative title, to be sure, and it’s a reasonably bold book, examining its titular question through the eyes and life of a female character. This final novel follows the life of Effie MacAskill, sister to Father Duncan MacAskill, central character in *The Bishop’s Man.* It doesn’t directly stare down such heavy material as the child sexual abuse that forms the plot backbone of *The Bishop’s Man.* It has its own agenda, interested in the more general effects such atrocities have on communities and individuals’ private lives.<br />

Effie is well into a contented-enough solitary middle age when she runs into an old Cape Breton friend on the St George subway platform in Toronto. JC has been off-the-radar with her crew for years, having been part of a crop of Canadian journalists recruited to American networks in the 1970s. His work has taken him all over the world and through countless human rights atrocities. Suffering the psychological trauma not uncommon in his line of work, he decides to come back to a tamer beat in Canada. The two embark on a tentative relationship, but it’s immediately apparent their respective baggage and Cape Breton ties threaten their bond and their health. <br />

If this sounds like an overwhelmingly heavy read - well, it is and it isn’t, but the end result is entirely worthwhile. MacIntyre is the master of the light touch, using one well-timed phrase in dialogue or a raised eyebrow to convey what other writers would need pages to illustrate. This approach allows readers to - in a sense - choose their level of exposure to the darker themes that run through the novel. Tightly written, and with a photographic capture of Cape Breton culture and dialogue, this novel is highly recommended to any fans of dark, character-driven Canadian literature.<br />

l
Lorayn
May 02, 2012

Tedious.

m
mjhhelenecameron
Apr 19, 2012

Excellent read - complex, sustained interest

debwalker Jan 07, 2012

"Why Men Lie has the flavour of a peaty single-malt (there is much scotch-drinking), one that would dissolve the tongue of a liar even while insisting on how an honest lie can shadow the purest life. And so, to Effie and her self-deceptions: a toast."

Aritha van Herk
Globe & Mail

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AnneDromeda May 19, 2012

Fans of CanLit likely remember Linden MacIntyre’s 2009 Giller Prize win for *The Bishop’s Man*, the second novel in his Cape Breton triology. Having made readers wait 10 years between the trilogy’s opener, *The Long Stretch,* and his prize-winning follow-up, MacIntyre evidently felt a rush to move on with the final novel in the trilogy, *Why Men Lie.* Was the rush worthwhile?<br />

It’s a provocative title, to be sure, and it’s a reasonably bold book, examining its titular question through the eyes and life of a female character. This final novel follows the life of Effie MacAskill, sister to Father Duncan MacAskill, central character in *The Bishop’s Man.* It doesn’t directly stare down such heavy material as the child sexual abuse that forms the plot backbone of *The Bishop’s Man.* It has its own agenda, interested in the more general effects such atrocities have on communities and individuals’ private lives.<br />

Effie is well into a contented-enough solitary middle age when she runs into an old Cape Breton friend on the St George subway platform in Toronto. JC has been off-the-radar with her crew for years, having been part of a crop of Canadian journalists recruited to American networks in the 1970s. His work has taken him all over the world and through countless human rights atrocities. Suffering the psychological trauma not uncommon in his line of work, he decides to come back to a tamer beat in Canada. The two embark on a tentative relationship, but it’s immediately apparent their respective baggage and Cape Breton ties threaten their bond and their health. <br />

If this sounds like an overwhelmingly heavy read - well, it is and it isn’t, but the end result is entirely worthwhile. MacIntyre is the master of the light touch, using one well-timed phrase in dialogue or a raised eyebrow to convey what other writers would need pages to illustrate. This approach allows readers to - in a sense - choose their level of exposure to the darker themes that run through the novel. Tightly written, and with a photographic capture of Cape Breton culture and dialogue, this novel is highly recommended to any fans of dark, character-driven Canadian literature.<br />

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s
Suesanista
Jun 07, 2015

"And they're moving to Sudbury," she said. "He's going a new practice there."

"It would take quite a bit of work," Duncan said. "It should be jacked up, and a proper basement dug."

"I doubt they'd want it," Effie said. "Even if we could forget what happened, it's ugly here. Nothing you'd want to look at. No vistas."

"You never know what people see in a place," Duncan said. "Have you ever been to Sudbury?"

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