The Map of True Places: A Novel

The Map of True Places: A Novel

by Brunonia Barry


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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 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.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061624810
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/22/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 423,787
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About 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 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 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 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.
BONS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Only when one learns to determine his true location by looking at the stars will he be able to chart an accurate course to his final destination."I enjoy a book that can pull you in to the story in the first chapter. The Map Of True Places pulled me immediately. I am unsure what I thought this book would be about but it managed to take me along on it's wild and twisted journey. Barry included enough mystery to keep me interested through out.
readingrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This story was, in many ways, very reminiscent of this author's first book, The Lace Reader. I welcomed the return to Salem and to many of the people and places of the first book while enjoying this new story totally on its own merit.
mckait on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a story of Zee. A young woman who grew up in Salem, in a house with a past. Her mother died when Zee was young, and she grew up living with her father, and his lover. Life after the death of her mother, was easier, and more settled than life with her had ever been. Zee's mother suffered from bi-polar disorder, and the family suffered along with her. Zee grew up and became a psycho-therapist. She treated those who suffered as her mother did, and perhaps was more empathetic than others might have been. Perhaps too much so. The death of one of her patients, sent Zee into a downward spiral. One was was all the worse because her father was now ill as well. The story once again takes place in Salem, Massachusetts ...a place I love. We revisit people and places from the last book, [The Lace Reader], but this is in no way a sequel. It is a strong, solid, stand alone story of a Zee. A young woman who finally finds her true self. Recommended
christinelstanley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I think I enjoyed The Map of True Places more than The Lace reader. It's an easy fast read, with an inventive plot and likeable characters. Certainly page turning and entertaining
hfineisen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book despite the often fantastical turns the story took. No spoilers. The relationships between the characters makes for a relatable read and the Hawthorne, Salem and Melville references enhance the setting. Perfect to throw in your beach or pool bag this summer.
njmom3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the characters in the book. I enjoyed the writing style. However, the book got jumbled for me trying to deal with too many issues:Mental illnessRole of caregiverAbuseMarriageInfidelitySuicideDoctor-patient relationshipLoveIt was just too much for me. I would have enjoyed seeing fewer of the story lines but each one more developed.
pdplish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Brunonia. I love that she weaves characters from the Lace Reader into this story. So easy to read and so many likabale characters, even if you saw the ending 1/2 way through. The setup was just too pat. But still it was a good love story, which I like to read.
jo-jo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is my first book by Brunonia Barry and I can guarantee you that I will not hesitate to open one of her novels in the future. Barry did a great job of delivering a novel that deals with some serious issues while also including a bit of a mysterious 'unknown' element. The mystical element was just the right amount for me as it didn't take over the novel or seem unbelievable.Zee is a young psychiatrist engaged to a wonderful man but doesn't seem to know the path that her life is taking. Zee is haunted by a childhood memory of seeing her mother die after convulsions from self-induced strychnine poisoning. Her mother was a very depressed woman and Zee takes special interest in her patient Lilly who seems to have similar traits to her mother. Zee's life is impacted once again when Lilly commits suicide.After Lilly's suicide Zee returns home to her father who has been suffering with Parkinson's disease. Upon her arrival she is surprised at the rapid decline of the disease. He has been fortunate for so long to have lived with minimal symptoms, but all of a sudden the disease seems to be taking its toll on him. This was such a touching part of the story for me as Zee puts her life on hold to care for her father who is frustrated with his medical condition. Her job becomes harder as his disease advances to the Altzheimer's stage. Because of the disease she finds that she needs to have some medical equipment installed in the home, and that is when Hawk is introduced in the story. Zee feels that she has seen Hawk somewhere before but cannot place it instantly. When she does finally recall how she knows this handsome man it brings back helpless feelings but that mysterious element that I mentioned earlier also surrounds his character.As Zee continues to care for her father she seems to accept the path that her life has taken. She realizes that she can make subtle changes for a more fulfilling outcome for both her and her loved ones. She also comes to accept that the suicides of both her mother and Lilly are not her fault. She learns that by charting the stars properly on the open sea that you can always find your way home. With the help of all who love Zee, this is exactly what she does.I really enjoyed this story and I think even more than I had expected. With themes of love, mystical elements, life choices, and both mental and terminal illnesses this is a great story and would also make a wonderful book club selection. This is one that I highly recommend.
nyiper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is similar to The Lace Reader in terms of the speed in which the action takes place. It's almost slow going as you get through all of the issues working toward a "something.". Well, of course there is a suicide early on!! I'm glad I kept going because the story has appealing characters and there really is an evolution of events, just a little exhausting before you seem to get anywhere.
redladysbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Map of True Places is the second novel that I've read by Brunonia Barry. The first was The Lace Reader, which I read last year and enjoyed. Both of Barry's novels are set in Salem Massachusetts, the hometown of Brunonia Barry and rich with culture and history that she weaves into her novels. The Map of True Places, is a moving story of Zee, a young psychotherapist who finds connection and self discovery through the death of one of her patients. Zee is in a place in her life where she seems to have it all, a wonderful career with a great mentor Dr. Mattei, a fiance and family that love her. Things change drastically in Zee's life after the death of her patient and Zee must also confront the declining health of her adored father Finch. Zee's life goes off course and she must find a way to get herself back on track and find answers to many questions from her past. Barry has a way with storytelling that immerses you as a reader right into the story. I found the characters to be interesting and well written and the background of Salem and navigational themes held together the story. If you've read The Lace Reader, you will find some of the characters mentioned along the way. I enjoyed The Lace Reader and was surprised to find that I enjoyed The Map of True Places even more. This would make a great book to discuss with a book club as there is so much to discuss with themes related to secrets, identity, love, family, suicide, and much more.
tjblue on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A story of fate and destiny and the fine line between real life and fairy tales.
JackieBlem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Readers rejoice! Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, is back with another gripping novel of human relationships and their consequences. It's again set in Salem, with some returning characters, which made it very easy to fall into the place and just flow with the story. Zee Finch, a psychotherapist, has come home to take care of her ailing father and to try to figure out her own life after the suicide of one of her patients, which was made even more difficult by Zee's past--her mother committed suicide herself, in front of her. There is a complex weave of past and present, love and betrayals, beginnings and endings in this story that reads quickly and leaves you longing for Barry's next book and a chance to visit her Salem yet again.
pdebolt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For me, the most interesting parts of this books were the references to Hawthorne and Yeats. I also learned quite a bit about the devestating effects of Parkinson's disease. I didn't find the characters very engaging and I thought there were too many story lines. If you want to know more about Salem, MA and its maritime history, you will like this book. If you want a book that you will remember, look elsewhere.
tanya2009 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Zee Finch is a respected psychotherepist. One of her patients jumps off a bridge and Zee puts her career on hold and returns home to care for her father and to find answers to her own mother's suicide.
Jthierer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This second novel by Barry has a lot in common with her first, "The Lace Reader." On the plus side, this means it features a compelling female protagonist and great descriptions of Salem, Mass. On the down side, that means it also includes a draggy middle section and names so improbably ridiculous that they detract from the story.
checkadawson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Psychotherapist Zee Finch is forced to come to terms with her own past as she attempts to treat a patient who is remarkably similar to her mother, who committed suicide when Zee was just 13 years old. Zee¿s patient leads Zee back into her past and also back to her father, a Parkinson¿s sufferer who now needs Zee¿s caretaking.The Map of True Places is a stirring family drama, filled with complex characters and even more complex interactions. For the most part, the novel¿s intricate plot is engaging, but it occasionally strains credibility, particularly with a suspenseful subplot involving Zee¿s patient that is only introduced near the end of the novel. This sensitive portrayal of family connections would have benefitted from some careful editing, but, even it its current form, it is an engaging novel.
ijustgetbored on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Map of True Places sometimes sparkles with wit, sometimes takes on an elegaic tone. It is at once the fast-paced story of a young woman's life and the slow-paced story of a father's decline, showing the relativity of time. All things are in flux in Barry's novel: time, love, relationships, the very nature of the self and of one's desires.Zee, a young psychologist, finds herself suddenly estranged from her fiance and in the position of caretaker to her father, rapidly in decline with Parkinson's Disease. Her bipolar mother committed suicide many years ago under hazy circumstances, a circumstance that haunts Zee still and arguably influced her decision to go into psychotherapy. A patient of hers, also bipolar and in the midst of a destructive relationship, has recently committed suicide herself, plaguing Zee with doubt about her competency in her chosen profession. It is against the background of all this turmoil that she returns to her hometown to care for her rapidly declining father, whose lover of many years he has just kicked out for reasons unknown to Zee (and to the reader).The plot is densely woven and full of secrets, which come unraveled rapidly at the novel's conclusion: there is no slow revelation of facts. All is mystery up until the end. Until then, Barry sticks with psychological probing an examining characters, principally Zee, from all sides, examing each facet. If there is a flaw, it is that we see all characters only through the eyes of Zee, never getting a chance to delve into the psyches of other characters, except for brief glimpses into the minds of Hawk and Anne (the latter being a supporting character at best). Some characters-- and I'm thinking principally of Melville, the father, Finch's, lover-- would have been well-served to have moments of reflection to themselves.All in all, a strong novel with a sympathetic heroine. Some suspension of disbelief is required re: her time away from work and "real life;" it is hard to believe that someone can step away from the demands of the everyday for such a long period of introspection, surely a luxury few of us can afford. But the characterizations are strong, and the plotting draws you in. As densely psychological as it is, it's still suspenseful. You won't be able to put it down until the last page is read and the last secret is revealed, the final dilemna resolved-- as much resolution as this novel allows.
tibsboys on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Zee Finch is a young psychotherapist who is thrown into turmoil when a patient of hers commits suicide. Zee struggles with guilt and is left to wonder if she has crossed the line in treatment and if she could have prevented the death. At the same time, her patient's suicide brings up unresolved feelings and memories of her own mother's suicide when Zee was a child. Other plot threads include Zee's taking time off from her practice, moving home to Salem, MA to care for her father, his rapidly deteriorating health and the breakdown of his relationship with his partner and family secrets. Hawk, a handyman, comes into Zee's life with a warning that he "is not what he seems to be." Through the course of the book, Zee struggles to find a way to develop her own life and take the time to face her own issues after so many years of trying to please and/or care for others. This book was Library Thing Early Reviewers copy. It was a good read with many emotions that rang true. Issues of mental health, domestic abuse and aging were thought-provoking, bringing to mind "what would you do in this situation." Without giving away the ending, I did think that the plot involving Roy was "over the top." I was disappointed that the author felt the story needed that aspect of the story.