It wasn't that we found the subject controversial, just that there were so many ways of interpreting events and plot turns. Did it happen? Didn't it happen? Adding one more layer to an interesting story.
Ambiguity leads to false conclusions within the plot itself: Effie sees JC with women and quickly jumps to conclusions, especially since he doesn't mention context. It turns out the prostitute he befriended was someone he was trying to convince to lead him to his estranged daugher; the woman who bends to kiss him lightly on the lips is revealed to be the daughter discovered.
JC commits errors of omission, forgetting to mention upcoming departures. And lies of convenience, such as when JC contrives a story that will bring him to Effie's doorstep for the first time.
Of course, different men have different reasons to lie.
Conor... told her up front there are always necessary lies - benevolent deceptions, he would call them. "Everybody has the capacity to lie, he said, 'But the biggest lie is always why we lie."
"So tell me, why do we lie?"
"Ask your brother... he'll know all about the Noble Lie."
"Have you ever been married, Conor?"
For Sextus, "Truth isn't all that it's cracked up to be."
I found Why Men Lie a great combo: an easy read with depth, compelling characters and an interesting theme. By the time I'd read this, I'd long forgotten details from The Bishop's Man, but like the idea of interlocking stories, and common events retold through other eyes.
Otherwise mixed reviews for the evening... Some preferred The Bishop's Man. Another disliked the story entirely. Someone commented the ending was too abrupt. Another took exception because they felt MacIntyre was far too self-congratulatory on having written from a female point of view.