Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why Men Lie by Linden MacIntyre

This book is loosely a sequel to MacIntyre's Giller award winning book, The Bishop's Man, and not nearly as good.  The earlier book's central character was a priest, this book focuses on his sister Effie.  It helped to have the context from the earlier book but it's not strictly necessary to read them in order.  Though if you're only going to read one, I'd opt for Bishop's Man.  Effie is a divorcee originally from Cape Breton who now lives in Toronto.  She's a self-sufficient professor who has had bad experiences with men, including her father, two ex-husbands, and one deceased but serious boyfriend (not to mention a string of unidentified others).  She thinks she's happy without men until a chance encounter with JC Campbell, a man from her past who she thinks is different.  The book explores their very bizarre relationship which ends badly and shows Effie that all men lie.  Her ex-husband drafts a manuscript entitled Why Men Lie which apparently reveals many secrets about their pasts in an effort to answer this question.  Though Effie may ultimately decide she understands why men lie, the author didn't clearly explain to me his theories behind it.  In the acknowledgments MacIntyre addresses the concern that he's written a book like this entirely from the perspective of a woman, and says he felt able to due to the strong women in his life.  But I think he did a far better job writing the prior book from the male perspective.

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