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The Map of True Places Paperback – 3 Feb 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (3 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007318502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007318506
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.6 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,339,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


For the Lace Reader:

'An unusual and beguiling literary thriller about a fascinating family of women. The setting of the tight-knit Salem community, still haunted by a heritage of witchcraft and persecution, is marvellously evoked. Enchanting, whimsical and menacing by turns and with a brightly drawn oddball cast it's an exhilarating and ultimately uplifting read.' Rachel Hore, 'The Memory Garden'

'A gorgeously written literary novel that's also a doozy of a thriller, capped with a jaw-dropping denouement that will leave even the most careful reader gasping … a major feat' Chicago Tribune

'Gripping … a marvellously bizarre cast of characters (living and dead) in a uniquely colorful town' Washington Post

'[A] richly imagined saga of passion, suspense and magic' Time

'Blithe and creepy in equal measure. [Barry] captures [Salem] evocatively and often wittily. What is real in "The Lace Reader"? What is not? … There are clues planted everywhere …' New York Times

'A spine-tingler … "The Lace Reader" is tailor-made for a boisterous night at the book club' People

About the Author

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Brunonia Barry studied literature and creative writing at Green Mountain College in Vermont and at the University of New Hampshire. After nearly a decade in Hollywood, Barry returned to Massachusetts, where, along with her husband, she founded an innovative company that creates award-winning word, visual and logic puzzles. Happily married, Barry lives with her husband and her twelve-year old Golden Retriever named Byzantium

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By sue book worm on 27 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read both of Brunonias books and enjoyed them .
This one is in my opinion her best novel. The more I read it the harder it became to put down. If you give it a chance it is a good book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Sculliom on 5 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not as good as her previous novel, the story took a little bit of getting into and in the end I found it ok.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 76 reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
It is not down in any map... 5 May 2010
By E. Griffin - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Map of True Places is a compelling novel that subtly captures and holds the reader until you suddenly realize you are immersed in the story and characters. The book is superbly written, with well-developed characters, smooth transitions between people and places, and pacing that transparently changes aligned with the situation.

Zee, the main character of the book, is an accomplished psychiatrist with a growing new practice, has a beloved mentor and a handsome successful fiancé. Zee is also an insecure, vulnerable, and lonely young woman, haunted by the suicide of her manic depressive mother when Zee was a child. When a patient of Zee's, a bi-polar young mother commits suicide, Zee runs away back home. There, she discovers that her father is estranged from his long-time partner and his Parkinson's disease is much worse than she knew.

Deciding to stay and care for her father, Zee takes a leave of absence from work and her life. More secure in her childhood environment, Zee begins to explore her feelings of guilt, impatience, estrangement, and loss. Her interactions with the people in her hometown are wonderfully done, providing the reader with insights about Zee as well as the richness these characters add to the story.

Zee begins to feel that something wasn't quite right about the suicide of her patient, which parallels a deeper feeling about something not quite right about her mother's death. In the midst of all this, Zee breaks up with her fiancé, falls in love with a very different man, re-establishes a relationship with her father's partner, and manages to improve her father's health to a point where he can live at home with caretakers. Eventually, Zee comes to a better understanding about the forces driving her patient and the choices her patient made, which leads to a surprisingly violent dénouement. Only the reader, not Zee, discovers the secret aspects of the suicide of Zee's mother, done in a hauntingly delicate way.

The Map of True Places is an enchanting novel in many ways, and will hopefully achieve a well-deserved place on the best sellers list.
32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
Emotional, mysterious and compelling must-read 29 Mar. 2010
By C. Quinn - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is another moving yet mysterious tale from Brunonia Barry, who returns to Salem and some familiar characters in this wonderful novel. I loved Zee, a therapist whose life was shaped by her own mother's suicide. When she returns to her childhood home to care for her father, a rapidly deteriorating Parkinson's patient, she is forced to assess her life and her understanding of herself and others. The underlying mysteries are not difficult to unravel, but it is in finding some level of truth that Zee also finds herself. Though this story was not as dark as The Lace Reader: A Novel, it was no less emotionally compelling. Definitely a must read!
56 of 71 people found the following review helpful
It's time for Brunonia and I to part ways 1 Jun. 2010
By Susan Tunis - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"It's not down on any map; true places never are."
-- Herman Melville

Apparently, I was the only person in America not raving about The Lace Reader last year. I didn't hate it, but I had a really hard time relating to the female protagonist, Towner Whitney. Having been curious enough to have read Ms. Barry's second novel, The Map of True Places, again I find myself in the disenchanted minority--and with the exact same complaint!

Brunonia Barry's new stand alone novel is set in the same world--the same Salem--as her first. Characters from The Lace Reader are referenced or make brief appearances. However, this novel is more grounded in the real world of psychology and medicine than with the ethereal subjects she had explored previously. The central character is Hepzibah Finch, known as "Zee." (And what is it with these names, Brunonia?).

Zee is a psychologist in crisis. She's just lost her first patient, and is having a hard time accepting that Lilly Braedon committed suicide. Zee's own mother had killed herself when Zee was a teen, and feelings about the two women have become entangled in a very non-clinical way. Meanwhile, other areas of Zee's life are falling apart. Her father's Parkinson's disease is far more advanced than she had been led to believe. She suddenly needs to step in as a care-giver, putting additional strain on an already strained relationship.

My frustration with this central character exists on several levels, but here is one issue I can illustrate easily enough. Allow me to share some quotes from the novel. All of these are spoken by, or refer to, Zee:

"I don't know what I want."

"The truth was, she didn't know if she didn't want to get married at all, or if she just hated the process."

"She was angry at Michael, though she had no real reason for this except that he so clearly knew what he wanted in all areas of his life, while she couldn't seem to make as simple a choice as whether or not to serve sushi at the wedding."

"Zee had once known exactly what kind of life she wanted. Now she drew a complete blank."

"I don't know what I feel."

"He had never asked her what she wanted out of life... These days she had to admit she had no idea."

"Though she was still having doubts about her choice of career, Zee knew she had to get back to work."

"I don't know what I want either."

"I don't think what I was or was not ready for was clear in any way, least of all to me."

"More than a few of the tears were relief; because... she had no big decisions to make."

"She honestly couldn't remember the last time she'd ordered ice cream for herself. It was ridiculous to be flustered by such a small thing, but there it was. He was waiting for her choice and she didn't have one."

I'm a highly empathetic reader, but I found Zee to be so bland, wishy-washy, and indecisive that I just wanted to slap her. I find it hard to become engaged in a character that passive. I pulled a whole other list of quotes that show the character to be tongue-tied and inarticulate, but given the length of this review, I'll spare you. My point was that as a reader, all I have are the character's words and thoughts to go by, and either Zee or Brunonia just wouldn't spit them out.

I can see that Ms. Barry's work resonates with the majority of her readers. That I am not among their number is unfortunate for me. But henceforth I will try to ignore my curiosity and Brunonia and I will go our separate ways, and we will both be happier for it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A great summer escape read! 31 May 2010
By Cheryl A. Reynolds - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Novel set in Salem, MA about Zee Finch, a woman in her 30's who comes to her hometown from Boston, where she'd been working as a psychologist. Her father has Parkinson's disease and at his request, his longtime boyfriend Melville had kept from her how seriously ill Finch was. But now Finch has kicked Melville out of the house over some old slight and Zee is left to try to figure out how to care for him.

She also is mourning a patient of hers, a bi-polar woman named Lilly who committed suicide and reminds Zee so much of her own mother that lines become blurred. Zee's engagement crumbles as she stays away from Boston longer and realizes that she really didn't want to marry Michael anyway.

I really enjoyed this story, although I did see the plot twist coming from a mile away. I like the author's writing style, blending a bit of the mystical with the practical and capturing the essence of Salem, lots of literary and historical references too. Some of the characters from her previous book, The Lace Reader, are briefly mentioned also and I hope she writes more stories set here.

Her characters, even the minor ones, are wonderfully drawn--I could clearly see them in my mind's eye and felt I knew them very well by the end of the book. In short, a great escape of a novel that leaves you with a little something to think about while you're enjoying the ride.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Barry Does It Again! 26 May 2010
By Bingo-Karen Haney - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Brunonia Barry once again is heading for the best seller list. Her much loved THE LACE READER has the same setting as this new book THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES. I consider the setting of Salem to be as much a character in this story as the people. This is the story of Zee, who is now a therapist with a thriving practice in Boston. She is returning to Salem to take care of her father who is ill and also gives herself time to get away from work where one of her patients had committed suicide. Zee finds her father has told his longtime partner, Melville, to get out and is now living alone in his home that is across from the House of Seven Gables. Zee's father was once a Hawthorne scholar and she is quite shaken by this turn. Zee sets out to bring Melville, who her father loved so much, and her father back together. In doing so, she brings up a lot about the men's pasts as well as her mother's suicide and she tries to come to terms with it. With her patient's and her Mother's suicides being very much alike, she finds this very hard to do. THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES does have some characters from THE LACE READER in it and their discussions about the work that is done on Yellow Dog Island is covered. However, it is a minor part to the story and thus this book does stand alone although who would not, or has not, read THE LACE READER may want to take this opportunity to read it first. Barry's writing is again superb as she is able to give the reader several stories within one and have them all come together in one fine production. Zee is a wonderful character and I really like the beginning of the book that told of Zee's youth and her boat "borrowing days"! Do not miss this one...looking forward to what Barry comes up with next!
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