What's in a Name reminds us that “the past is in the graveyard.”
About What’s in a Name
Garie McIntosh’s jaw-dropping first novel is about the power of secrets, the people who wield such sometimes inexpressible power and the women haunted by those secrets.
The novel takes the reader on a searing journey that intimately portrays the lives of seven women. A must-read, it will change the way we view secrets, what we think of them and ultimately, how we address them, even the women who keep them.
The day turns freezing and dark, a heinous crime occurs and abandonment ensues. It is the last day of school for a twelve-year-old girl named Christine in 1994 in Toronto, Canada.
Twenty-one years later, she finally realizes that her silence about the meaning of her other name, which her mother gave to her on her death bed, threatens her survival. She has formed a compromise through her new name, Lena, to survive the events of her childhood.
Accompanied by her husband, she takes the trip of her life to a paradisaical landscape, Jamaica, where she meets a woman who knows about compromising. Christine discovers that both a woman's compromise and her retraction of that compromise can be not only courageous but also dazzlingly infelicitous.
That infelicity is found in the name of a seventy-four-year-old Jamaican woman who now calls herself Dell-Dell.
In Canada and Jamaica, these silent women of What’s in a Name can no longer remain so. You will be mesmerized by this epic tale that details each woman’s shocking justification for her own silence. The main character, Christine/Lena, trades “bridling herself with her secret for some breaking news of her own.”
Each woman’s name is like the cover art that wraps to the back of the book, suggesting that names are rooted in something that will become a revelation, even if such truth is trivialized or set down to “the effect of breeze having manipulated leaves into form; leaves having manipulated light with equal savvy.”
The women have spoken, and they must be heard. But for one of them, Dell-Dell, speaking by itself isn’t enough, nor is her name, so she commits an unspeakable act to solidify her future and a new life by way of a new name. She reminds us that every woman knows her own sorrows.
Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.
The novel poses a few questions relevant to its characters.
- Who’s Christine?
- Who’s Dell-Dell?
- Why are there so many secrets amongst the women?
- And finally, which relative in Jamaica is about to lose his mind?