Necessary Lies and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $19.99
  • Save: $2.90 (15%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Necessary Lies has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Shelf wear around edges & corners. Clean text.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Necessary Lies Paperback – August 1, 2000


See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$17.09
$11.49 $0.46

"Barbecue and Bad News" by Nancy Naigle
"Barbecue and Bad News" by Nancy Naigle
Welcome to Adams Grove, where the barbecue isn’t the only thing that sizzles. Check out Nancy Naigle's newest romance. See the Adams Grove series
$17.09 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Necessary Lies + The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great + Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great
Price for all three: $49.62

Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

2001 Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award Winner: Eva Stachniak's Necessary Lies is an earnest debut novel that explores the secrets, falsifications, and betrayals that build empires while rupturing the lives of individuals. Set during one of the 20th century's most tumultuous decades, it tells the story of Anna, a lecturer in English from the University of Wroclaw, who arrives in Montreal in the fall of 1981. When martial law is declared in Poland, she chooses to remain in Canada, although emigration means abandoning her husband, an activist in the political opposition, and deserting her homeland as it reels from the shock of being betrayed by its own people. What follows is a bittersweet tale of Anna's marriage to a German émigré, a composer, and her journey back to Europe 10 years later--after his death and the fall of Communism--to come to terms with her own departure and her second husband's past.

Necessary Lies, which won the Amazon.com/Books in Canada First Novel Award, tackles an intriguingly volatile period of repression, recrimination, and reconciliation in central and eastern Europe (and in Canada's separatist Quebec as well). Stachniak is a lucid lecturer who deftly makes fiction from events that have been fodder for recent travel literature, such as Eva Hoffman's Exit into History: A Journey Through the New Eastern Europe and Irena Karafilly's Ashes and Miracles: A Polish Journey. Stachniak's strength as a writer lies in her skill in invoking place--its sights and smells and energy--and in juxtaposing a city's present with its complex past. Like an archaeologist or archivist, she delves into the layers of history to reveal the collective source of personal tragedy.

But these strengths ultimately prove to be the novel's shortcoming as a work of fiction. Stachniak has a faintly irritating tendency (right from page 1) to engage in irresolvable arguments about whether Poland is part of central or eastern Europe. More significantly, she fails to render psychologically compelling characters, despite the potentially fascinating figures she draws upon. Furthermore, central confrontation scenes with Anna's Polish ex-husband and her second husband's longtime German lover miss the opportunity to sound the depths of betrayal. How unsatisfactory for the reader when the collision of two world views gets reduced to the banality of a co-owned apartment buyout. --Diana Kuprel

Review

"It's not easy for a fiction writer to keep up with history when it's this big, but Stachniak and her characters do precisely that--as their own secrets and lies and hard-worn resilience parallel the extraordinary events happening around them. Necessary Lies is a brave and ambitious novel and a worthy winner."
Joel Yanofsky.

"Necessary Lies serves to remind where we are by reminding where many of us have come from." Olga Stein.

[Stachniak's] human comedy is the oldest and best sort. Woven through the inevitable sadness is wonder at the revelation of human complexity and resilience. (Jim Bartley The Globe and Mail)

Necessary Lies serves to remind where we are by reminding where many of us have come from. (Olga Stein, Editor Books in Canada)

It's not easy for a fiction writer to keep up with history when it's this big, but Stachniak and her characters do precisely that - as their own secrets and lies and hard-worn resilience parallel the extraordinary events happening around them. Necessary Lies is a brave and ambitious novel and a worthy winner. (Joel Yanofsky Books in Canada)

Offering a wealth of appealing sensory detail with what Clark Blaise once termed "authorial generosity" (I saw the streets of the cities, the shape and colour of people's clothes, tasted the food), the novel portrays the lives of Central European characters as journeys of survival in an age of tribal atrocities, whether those atrocities were cloaked in Nazism, Communism, or national vengeance. (Julie Keith Books in Canada)

Themes of personal betrayal, collective denial and historically divided identities initially drive this story. Stachniak's world is convincing and carefully wrought ... Necessary Lies satisfies most with the expressive fluidity of its prose, and its sharp portrait of a woman grappling with a bitter legacy. (Jim Bartley The Globe and Mail)

...the book that satisfied my three fictive R's: real people, real places, real emotions. (Carmine Starnino Books in Canada)
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

"The Mermaid's Child" by Jo Baker
In this fantastical novel, the acclaimed author of "Longbourn" brings us the magical story of a young girl in search of her mother - who just might be a mermaid. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Dundurn; 1St Edition edition (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780889242951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0889242951
  • ASIN: 088924295X
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,296,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Wrocław, Poland.

I came to Canada in 1981 on an English scholarship to McGill University where I defended my doctoral thesis in 1988. In Poland I taught at the English Department of the University of Wrocław.

In 1984-86 I worked for Radio Canada International, the Polish Section, in Montreal, writing and producing radio programs about Canada. In 1988 I joined the faculty of Sheridan College where I taught English and humanities courses until 2007.

My first short story, "Marble Heroes," was published by the Antigonish Review in 1994, and my debut novel, Necessary Lies, won the Amazon.com/Books in CanadaFirst Novel Award in 2000.

I live in Toronto.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
61%
4 star
33%
3 star
6%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 18 customer reviews
It is a love story with interesting twists.
JKreader
From this novel, I've learned about the woman's cross-cultural experience and also more about the important historical period I'm interested.
Zoë S. Roy
The book is a page-turner that I recommend to everyone!
Michael Soltys

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By tamara trojanowska on March 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
This fascinating novel traces the ambiguities of truths and lies in personal histories of its characters, in the history of Central Europe, in exilic experience, and in the topographies of two cities: Wroclaw (Breslau) and Montreal. It takes its readers on a journey to Poland and Germany, and to their painful wartime past, to the time of unprecedented changes in recent European history, initiated in 1980 with the "Solidarity" movement and completed in 1989 with the fall of Communism. But it is also a book on exile, and on the trauma that even a very successful exile can bring. The particular strength of this book lies in its ability to bring to life not only the story, but also the scents, textures, colors, and other details of the world in which the characters live and try to make some sense of their lives. The search for personal truth becomes an inquiry into the ambiguities of other, more important and more complex truths.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Simon on January 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Once I started reading it was hard to put down. An amazing story mixing Polish History and experiences of Immigration to Canada. A fascinating set of characters make this one of the most enjoyable books I have read recently.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jola Duniewicz on January 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Interesting backgrounds, common point, the city of Breslau, seen from the perspective of different generations and historical conditions. Exciting story of love, betrayal, and rejection. Returns to the past, looking for why? and... finally reconciliations with both the past and the rejection. When you start reading you can't put the book away until you finish.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Soltys on January 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading "Necessary Lies" by Eva Stachniak. The story is gripping and the characters are interesting. I especially enjoyed the interplay of different countries and times in the book, and the mysteries--behind the lives of the protagonists--that surface as the story develops. The book is a page-turner that I recommend to everyone!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dianne Flynn on January 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
Necessary Lies Reviewer name: Dianne Flynn E-mail: flynndd@hotmail.com Display e-mail: Yes Rating: 5 Location: Toronto, Ontario Reviewer Title: Suspense, history, drama Review: I was unable to put this book down. Not only did I learn about the history of Poland, esp. during WWII, but I was engaged in a love story, which was full of drama and suspense. A beautiful piece of literature, set in Montreal and displaying a tremendous amout of knowledge of the history of Poland, Germany & Russ
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jagoda Urban-Klaehn on October 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
very interesting book, touches interesting problems of people born in different historical realities - trying to understand each other. I could easily identify with the author of the book and her characters since I lived in Poland of Solidarity - political hopes and economical depression. I also decided to leave Poland and stay in a different country - a difficult choice with new challenges. The sudden change of the culture allowed me - just like it allowed Anna - a main character of the book - to understand the world and people's fate from a different perspective - I really recommend - great reading, deep story - one can learn a lot!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Russer on April 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a novel one can't put away. It describes a very complicated and controversial issue of emigration, betrayal and forgiveness. There are no solution to any of these problems in this novel, and maybe that's why the entire story is real and very interesting. Many of us came to Canada leaving behind our lives, families, etc. Did we really had to come here? What is moral? What is not? The same questions are asked by the author of this novel.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zoë S. Roy on August 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Necessary Lies by Eva Stachniak is one of the excellent novels I've ever read. I can't put it down when I read it. The story of Anna is eye catching. This well-educated woman left her family in Wroclaw and came to Montreal for advanced studies. The author developed the character with interesting details. Some dramatic events happened in Anna's life while the fall of Berlin Wall changed history. Lies or truth were woven in real life. Searching for truth led Anna to an exploration. From this novel, I've learned about the woman's cross-cultural experience and also more about the important historical period I'm interested.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Necessary Lies
This item: Necessary Lies
Price: $19.99 $17.09
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?