The Only Café

A novel by Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author Linden MacIntyre.

Linden MacIntyre

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 during civil war to come to Canada 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, a single bone and a distinctive gold chain are recovered, and 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 1980s. 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, all of it twining into 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. (From Random House Canada)

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From the book

The reading of the will was a formality. Pierre's widow had been running things for years, five years and two months, to be precise, since June 26, 2007, the day he'd vanished.

Pierre Cormier had led a complicated life, much of it unknown even to his closest friends and kin, and so the mystery of his disappearance lingered. But by summer of 2012 investigators had concluded to the satisfaction of insurers that he was dead. It was time to lay the mystery aside, embrace administrative closure — imperfect though it was from an emotional perspective.

From The Only Café by Linden MacIntyre ©2017. Published by Random House Canada.

More about this author

Linden MacIntyre Wins Giller

13 years ago
Duration 1:59
Jelena Adzic is reporting on Linden MacIntyre's Giller Prize win
The recent budget cuts at CBC mean 657 people will lose their jobs. Linden MacIntyre is one of them. After nearly 40 years at CBC, the co-host of The Fifth Estate is leaving voluntarily. He says he wants the public to put a face those cuts.