The Map of True Places

The Map of True Places

4.1 44
by Brunonia Barry, Alyssa Bresnahan
     
 

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“Masterfully woven…The Map of True Places is a gripping quest for truth that kept me reading at the edge of my seat to the very last page.”
—Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice

Brunonia Barry, author of the beloved New York Times and international bestseller The Lace Reader is back with The Map of True

Overview

“Masterfully woven…The Map of True Places is a gripping quest for truth that kept me reading at the edge of my seat to the very last page.”
—Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice

Brunonia Barry, author of the beloved New York Times and international bestseller The Lace Reader is back with The Map of True Places, an emotionally resonant novel of tragedy, secrets, identity, and love. The moving and remarkable tale of a psychotherapist who discovers the strands of her own life in the death of a troubled patient, The Map of True Places is another glorious display of the unique storytelling prowess that inspired Toronto’s Globe and Mail to exclaim, “Brunonia Barry can write. Boy can she write.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Barry's considerable if overplotted latest delves into the long-lingering effects of a mother's suicide. Fifteen years ago, Maureen Finch, a discontented wife and bipolar mother to 13-year-old Zee, commits suicide while Zee watches. Flash forward to the present day, and Zee is a therapist with a new patient, Lilly Braedon, who is far too much like Maureen, and after Lilly kills herself, Zee walks away from her practice and travels back to Salem, Mass., to visit her father and his partner, Melville, only to find that her father's Parkinson's disease is advancing rapidly. With Melville missing, Zee becomes a full-time caregiver and must face the half-truths and twisted memories that have compromised her connection to her father, all the while examining how her mother's legacy extends into her life and a fledgling romance. This is a lovingly told story with many well-drawn characters, who sooner or later reconsider the courses charted by personal decisions and circumstance. But there is almost too much story here, and Barry (The Lace Reader) compromises the third act with a weak subplot about Lilly's traumatic last days that reads as an intrusion on an otherwise well-told tale. (May)
GenreGoRoundReviews.com
“Brunonia Barry provides her fans with a profound complex relationship drama as the past impacts the present and the future. . . . Making the case that honesty is the best policy for the long run, Ms. Barry provides a thoughtful tale that will have readers reflecting on their lives.”
BlogCritics.org
“Barry has written a beautiful transcendental tale worth high praise. The Map of True Places has a celestial place in the universe.”
Bookreporter.com
“Watching Zee… navigate the course of her own future is a journey …that readers will gladly make in the capable hands of tour guide Brunonia Barry.”
Library Journal
“Zee’s a vulnerable, likable character, and the dramatic narrative brings her experience to life...readers will be perched on the edge of their seats while consuming this mesmerizing, suspenseful tale.”
BookPage
“Gripping and emotionally taut, this is a novel brimming with both the messy and the lovely parts of life. A provocative examination of family, aging, and finding your true place in the world, The Map of True Places is sure to smoothly sail up the bestseller list.”
Booklist
“Like her hit debut, The Lace Reader (2008), Barry’s second novel features an involving, intricately woven story and vivid descriptions of historic Salem.”
Kirkus Reviews starred review
“A novice psychotherapist finds unsettling parallels between a patient’s suicide and her mother’s history in Barry’s second (The Lace Reader, 2008). . . . This woman-in-jeopardy thriller retooled with gothic elements--shifting identities, secrets and portents, a deserted cottage and a missing suicide note- manages to transcend.”
Lisa Genova
“Masterfully woven with a cast of unforgettable characters set loose in a world so specific and real, The Map of True Places is a gripping quest for truth that kept me reading at the edge of my seat to the very last page.”
Carolyn See
“The meditations on American history, assisted suicide, reincarnation and celestial navigation are informative and even endearing…the voice behind the plot turns is both likable and engaging.”
Kirkus Reviews
A novice psychotherapist finds unsettling parallels between a patient's suicide and her mother's history, in Barry's second (The Lace Reader, 2008). Hepzibah (Zee for short) was named after a Hawthorne character by her father, Finch, a professor who's obsessed with the transcendentalist author. Her mother Maureen committed suicide by taking strychnine, after a long battle with manic-depression, exacerbated by Finch's closeted homosexuality and his attraction to the man he nicknamed Melville. Maureen had longed for a star-crossed love, and she left behind an unfinished fairy tale about Purveyance, wife of a Salem sea captain, who, with her soul mate, a lowly sailor, escaped her husband's brutality. (Zee grew up in the historic Salem home that was once Purveyance's domestic prison.) Now a doctoral candidate in Boston, Zee sees aspects of Maureen in her bipolar patient Lilly, a suburban homemaker. Lilly tells her of Adam, a carpenter, whom she loves desperately, but who now appears to be stalking them both-Zee's seen him lurking outside her office. With adjusted meds, Lilly improves, but then leaps to her death from a bridge during rush hour. At Lilly's funeral, Zee spots a man she recognizes from TV news as a distraught eyewitness to Lilly's death. More personal woes intrude. Finch's Parkinson's disease is worsening, he's now alienated from Melville (his partner since Maureen's death) and requires full-time care. Zee returns to Salem, and this town of Wicca practitioners, pirate re-enactors and tall ships, like Friendship, a replica of the vessel on which Purveyance fled, reclaims her. Hawk, the stricken eyewitness, is now crewing on the Friendship and, when Zee enrolls in his celestial navigation class, she's ineffably drawn to him. Soon the pair are making love in Maureen's room, beneath the same widow's walk on which the storied lovers once trysted. Although marred by unnecessary "come-to-realize" moments, this woman-in-jeopardy thriller retooled with gothic elements-shifting identities, secrets and portents, a deserted cottage and a missing suicide note-manages to transcend its component cliches. A highly readable sophomore effort. Reading group guide available online. Author tour to Boston, New Canaan, Conn., Portland, Maine, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Va.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792772033
Publisher:
AudioGO
Publication date:
05/28/2010

What People are saying about this

Carolyn See
“The meditations on American history, assisted suicide, reincarnation and celestial navigation are informative and even endearing…the voice behind the plot turns is both likable and engaging.”
Lisa Genova
“Masterfully woven with a cast of unforgettable characters set loose in a world so specific and real, The Map of True Places is a gripping quest for truth that kept me reading at the edge of my seat to the very last page.”

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Brunonia Barry lives in Salem with her husband and their beloved golden retriever, Byzantium.

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Map of True Places 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
jennifers_thoughts More than 1 year ago
I loved everything about it! The Map of True Places is a magnificent book full of heart, mystery, suspense, surprise and the great love that everyone wishes they have privilege of finding. The characters are so well written and defined. They are powerful, and strong on so many levels. This will definitely be added to my list of books that I will read again annually! Although it is different from The Lace Reader,it was written to be different. Wonderfully, wonderfully different!
addictedreaderSK More than 1 year ago
Brunonia Barry drew me in right from the start and carried me along her amazing tale right through to the end, where I found myself wishing for more. Funny, infuriating, heartbreaking, daring and loving. You won't want to put this book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Brunonia Barry has done it again! I enjoyed her first book, "The Lace Reader" and was thrilled to discover that Mrs. Barry had published another. As in the first, the characters are compelling, the story is completely different, mysteries keep the reader guessing, and a fantastic setting...Salem, Massachusetts. It was great fun "taking a trip back home" through this book, but even more so than Mrs. Barry's first. She easily portrayed the "New England attitude" through her characters, and threw a few extras that a true "North Shore" resident would certainly appreciate ("Lynn, Lynn...). My only complaint? I currently live in the Washington D.C. area and now I'm craving a roast beef sandwich and fries from Kelly's in Revere! :) Great job! Loved it, recommend it and will continue to do so!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a psychologist from the boston area (like the protagonist) and a fan of the lace reader, i really wanted to like this book. Its chock full of beautiful imagery, lyrical prose and creative, complexcharacters. Barry rrally has a sophisticated understanding of the psyche. My main difficulty with the book was the pacing....it dragged so slowly and i got bored at many points. Readers who described it as gripping & suspenseful must have very different definitions of those words than i do. Certainly there is a mystery at work but its a slow, character driven novel at heart. Not an inherent flaw, just dont grab this if u want an "up all night" type mystery.
DSaff More than 1 year ago
"It is not down in any map; true places never are." --Herman Melville "The Map of True Places" is a wonderfully woven tale of love, loss, and finding where you belong. Zee is a psychologist working to help people understand and change unhealthy behaviors. She is also dealing with a mother who committed suicide, a gay father with Parkinson's Disease which is adding Alzheimer's to its repertoire, an engagement that doesn't seem to fit, and learning to be a caregiver. With all of this and more going on, Zee works to find her "true place." Why does she feel guilty about Lily, and who is following her? I really enjoyed this book! Brunonia Barry did a lot of research and produced a believable story that held my attention all the way through. There is a decidedly nautical theme with each section introduced by interesting navigation information, and has a setting that moves around the Boston/Salem area of MA. There were times I was cheering for the characters, and moments when I was sad or worried. Individuals and groups alike will enjoy the story and the interesting facts and tidbits woven throughout. You really should take the time to come meet Zee, Mattei, Finch, Melville, Jessina, and Hawke. They, and others, have a story to tell.
cewilch More than 1 year ago
By the time I got to the end of THE LACE READER, I knew I had stumbled onto something wonderful. . . a first time author had written a masterpiece of a story! I anxiously waited, practically the edge of my seat, for her next offering amd was not disappointed. THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES is a masterfully crafted novel, every word woven together to create a plot which engages the reader from the first page to the last. I knew I was going to have a good read when I picked up this book and am now only sad because it is over, but I will again, begin awaiting for Brunonia Barry's next book!
Lawral More than 1 year ago
I want to live in a Brunonia Barry novel. She is amazing at creating a sense of place in her novels, and while Salem is less of a character in its own right in The Map of True Places than it was in The Lace Reader, it is still an integral part of the story. Zee, a successful therapist in Boston, returns to Salem to care for her ailing father and to take a little breather from work in the wake of the suicide of one of her patients. Once she arrives, she finds her father, once a leading Hawthorne scholar, living alone across from the House of Seven Gables, having kicked out Melville, his longtime partner. While trying to reconcile her father with Melville, once the love of his life, she drags up quite a bit about both men's pasts and the past of her late mother. Getting over her mother's suicide, which Zee witnessed, has been a lifelong journey for Zee, one that has not been helped by the similarities between her mother and the patient Zee so recently lost. Barry's gift for layering stories is clear as she melts the pasts of so many characters together into one cohesive narrative. Some of the connections between the characters run much deeper than they seem, and even though the same events are looked at or played out multiple times, there is a new revelation with every telling and an ending that left be both in awe and misty-eyed. There are a few characters from The Lace Reader that make appearances in The Map of True Places, and there is talk of the work done on Yellow Dog Island. All of this is either fully explained or unimportant to this story. Reading the former is not a prerequisite for reading the latter. Book source: ARC received from the publisher, William Morris, through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was not a big fan of this book, although I loved Barry's first novel. It was slow reading and pretty boring up until about the last quarter. I didn't feel connected to the main character, Zee.
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donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
If you like The Lace Reader, you'll enjoy Barry's latest tale. Romance, mystery, family, history - a bit of everything, woven into this story. You'll love Zee, empathize with Melville and even get a bit of surprise in the mix. And yes, karma "happens"...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved everything about this book. It was written wonderfully and the way it all came together was unlike any book I've read thus far. You can't help but love Zee from the very beginning and it only gets better as you get to look into her past. You won't be able to put it down esp. once you are about half way through it you won't be able to finish it soon enough!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book. The author covered serious issues and did it elegantly. This eas an engaging read and the hardest book to set down. A very gifted writer who does not disappoint.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an enjoyable book that held my interest. The characters were well defined. It presented another view of bipolar disorder and dealing with the ravages of Parkinson's disease. There was romance, true love and suspense/mystery to this book. I have never been to Salem, MA but this book and Ms. Barry's other book, THE LACE READER, make me want to go!
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