Between Men


312 pages
ISBN 0-670-81499-7
DDC C813'




Rosalie I. Tennison is Editor of Communicator Magazine.


A bizarre murder case and the confused personal life of a Calgary history professor are a venue for Katherine Govier to comment on the problems facing women in the post-liberation 80s. Between Men is disconcerting in its accuracy when portraying the current female condition.

The double story line in Between Men can be confusing at times but Govier uses it to draw parallels between the lives of women today and those of a hundred years ago. The murder case was a Calgary news item in 1889. A young native girl was fatally assaulted during a brutal sexual encounter. Govier traces the story through her main character, Suzanne, the history professor. As the story progresses, Suzanne’s obsession with discovering the truth of the murder begins to influence her life. During her mission, she becomes involved with an older man while trying to disentangle herself from an unsatisfactory marriage. Eventually, the lives of the two main female characters mesh and the professor finds new direction for her life.

Between Men could be described in the derogatory modern term as “women’s fiction,” but it is far more than that. The characters are women, encouraging identification with female readers, and the story line, especially the murder, is fascinating. It is a comment that the roles of men and women have not changed dramatically in a hundred years; we have merely become more subtle in the ways we hurt each other.

Govier has proven herself a masterful story-teller with Between Men. Let us hope that a hundred years from now her characterizations will be less accurate than they are today.



Govier, Katherine, “Between Men,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,