The Map of True Places
By Brunonia Barry
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061624780, 416pp.)
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
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Brunonia Barry, the New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader, offers an emotionally compelling novel about finding your true place in the world.
Zee Finch has come a long way from a motherless childhood spent stealing boatsa talent that earned her the nickname Trouble. She's now a respected psychotherapist working with the world-famous Dr. Liz Mattei. She's also about to marry one of Boston's most eligible bachelors. But the suicide of Zee's patient Lilly Braedon throws Zee into emotional chaos and takes her back to places she though she'd left behind.
What starts as a brief visit home to Salem after Lilly's funeral becomes the beginning of a larger journey for Zee. Her father, Finch, long ago diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, has been hiding how sick he really is. His longtime companion, Melville, has moved out, and it now falls to Zee to help her father through this difficult time. Their relationship, marked by half-truths and the untimely death of her mother, is strained and awkward.
Overwhelmed by her new role, and uncertain about her future, Zee destroys the existing map of her life and begins a new journey, one that will take her not only into her future but into her past as well. Like the sailors of old Salem who navigated by looking at the stars, Zee has to learn to find her way through uncharted waters to the place she will ultimately call home.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Brunonia Barry lives in Salem with her husband and their beloved golden retriever, Byzantium.
- At the beginning of the novel, Brunonia Barry includes a quote from Herman Melville—"It is not down in any map; true places never are." Why do you think the author chose this quote to begin her story? Is the epigraph contradictory or complementary to the book's title?
“Like her hit debut, The Lace Reader (2008), Barry’s second novel features an involving, intricately woven story and vivid descriptions of historic Salem.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Barry has written a beautiful transcendental tale worth high praise. The Map of True Places has a celestial place in the universe.”
“Barry’s considerable latest delves into the long-lingering effects of a mother’s suicide. . . . This is a lovingly told story with many well-drawn characters, who sooner or later reconsider the courses charted by personal decisions and circumstance.”
“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.”
-Kirkus Reviews starred review
“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.”
“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.”
-Carolyn See, The Washington Post
“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.”
“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.”
-Lisa Genova, New York Times Bestselling author of Still Alice
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