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What's in a Name: a Novel about Silence Revised Edition

Garie McIntosh

Storytelling-communicator and grammar enthusiast

First novel

What’s in a Name is a fictional tale about a woman who has been renamed by her dying mother. She accepts that name, but then she goes silent about its significance. Now an adult, a married woman, she finds herself in a battle to unsilence herself.

Book description

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 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.

Who is Christine Waters? What might her compromise be?

Book back cover

After having been renamed by her dying mother at twelve years old, Christine accepts her new name―Lena. But that name holds a painful, terrible secret. Her acceptance of it comes with guilt and the reminder of her shame and violation. Christine has remained silent about the events that precipitated her renaming and the real meaning of "Lean-a." Now thirty-three years old, she is compelled to confront her past because her marriage is threatened by her husband's and her mutual silence.

But Christine's silence is as deep as the meaning of her name. The women around her have also been silent, so she travels to Jamaica to address the cause of her own silence. By the end of her journey to Jamaica, Christine embodies the question that the narrative contemplates in the end: what might a woman's compromise be if she should face the perpetrator of the crimes against her that Christine herself has experienced?

Book trailer

About the author

Garie was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada in 1990 when he was fourteen years old. In high school, he knew he wanted to become a writer. Now he considers himself a storytelling-communicator and a grammar enthusiast. He takes an academic approach to English to gain the technical know-how to develop and write literary fiction and perform different types of editing. His writing experience and studies have also led him to create McIntoshLinguistics, an educational services company that aims to formalize an approach to English literary editing through a process-method.

Garie started out in administration in the fields of healthcare, project management and database development. Writing fictional narrative and editing has now been his passion for the last four years. He considers that storytelling is analogous to communication. His goal and purpose are to write stories with strong, authentic characters that are defined by strong writing and themes and thereby reinforce the power of communication.

In December 2014, he had an experience that has since turned out to be the secret of his not only having found but also living his life’s purpose. He calls that experience the power of sisu. To find out more about sisu, click on the link below to go to his website.

Garie's hope is that What’s in a Name will compel readers to stop and reflect on their own names and the meaning of, or what’s behind, them.

Created By
Garie McIntosh
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