Linden MacIntyre’s bestselling first novel, The Long Stretch, was nominated for a CBA LIbris Award and his boyhood memoir, Causeway: A Passage from Innocence, won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction 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 Award, among other honours. The third book in the loose-knit trilogy, Why Men Lie, was also a #1 national bestseller as well as a Globe and Mail “Can’t Miss” Book for 2012. His most recent novels are Punishment, in 2014, and The Only Café, 2017. He is working on a non-fiction project based in Newfoundland. MacIntyre, who spent 24 years as the co-host of the fifth estate, is a distinguished broadcast journalist who has won ten Gemini awards for his work.
“Will transfix you with its disquieting and cautionary narrative.” —The Globe and Mail
The Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author of The Bishop’s Man
“Spare, propulsive and rich in observational detail and dialogue. . . . MacIntyre’s journalism training and experience . . . allow him to explore Lebanon’s labyrinthine, multi-factional civil war with authority and compassion.” —James Grainger, author of Harmless, Toronto Star
Pierre Cormier had secrets. Though he married twice, became a high-flying lawyer and a father, he didn’t let anyone really know him. And he was especially silent about what had happened to him in Lebanon, the country he fled as a refugee. When, in the midst of a corporate scandal, he went missing after his boat exploded, his teenaged son Cyril didn’t know how to mourn him. But five years later, Pierre is at last declared dead. Which changes everything.
At the reading of the will, it turns out that instead of a funeral, Pierre wanted a “roast” at a bar no one knew he frequented—The Only Café in Toronto’s east end. He’d even left a guest list that included one mysterious name: Ari. Cyril, now working as an intern for a major national newsroom and assisting on reporting a story on homegrown terrorism, tracks down Ari at the bar, and finds out that he is an Israeli who knew his father in Lebanon in the ’80s. Who is Ari? What can he reveal about what happened to Pierre in Lebanon? Is Pierre really dead? Can Ari even be trusted? Soon Cyril’s personal investigation is entangled in the larger news story—a fabric of lies and deception that stretches from contemporary Toronto back to the massacre at the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon in September 1982.
The Only Café is both a moving mystery and an illuminating exploration of how the traumatic past, shadows every moment of the present.