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Thursday, June 23, 2011

the map of true places by Brunonia Barry

The map of true places takes place in Salem, Mass., as did Barry's previous novel The Lace Reader.  I received the Lace Reader as an ARC in 2007 and liked it very much, so when I saw the map of true places at the library, I grabbed  it.

   Zee Finch is a psychotherapist in Boston who seems to have everything together, but who has become too involved with one of her patients.  She fears that Lilly Braeddon is being abused and that she has stepped over the line by offering advice.  When Lilly commits suicide, Zee suffers guilt and  self-doubt;she questions her career choice and her prospective marriage.
On a brief visit home, Zee realizes that her father Finch, who suffers from Parkinson's, has gotten much worse.  He has been hiding his decline from Zee, and he has told his long-time partner to move out.
Taking a leave of absence, Zee becomes her father's caretaker and in doing so, learns a great deal about herself.   Yet even removed from Boston, she finds that Lilly's case pursues her.  Zee struggles to understand her relationship with her father and her relationship with her mother who also suffered from bipolar disease and committed suicide.  She attempts to discover why Finch has broken with Melville, his long-time companion.  And she begins a new relationship.
All of things are intertwined in intricate and surprising ways, and there are several little plot twists that keep things very interesting.

Other Reviews:  The Zen Leaf,   GenPlus, Wordsmithonia,   
  Fiction.  Contemporary Lit.  2010.  406 pages.


  1. Hmmm...have you seen how part of this post has set up - one letter at a time. Don't think that was your intent. LOL

    I have a copy of this book and will read it at some point. I really liked THE LACE READER - I'm kind of fascinated with Salem. Would love to visit sometime.

  2. Kay - It doesn't look that way when I pull it up, but I've been having some difficulties with blogger lately.

  3. Kay, I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who is trying to read the post letter by letter.

    It does look like a good book, I will have to add it to my TBR pile.

  4. This sounds good, I'm definitely putting it on my library list!

  5. Nulaane - I look at the edit and preview pages and can't find out why. It looks okay published to me.

    Anyone else besides Kay and Nulaane seeing the post letter by letter? Or is it everyone?

    Anne - I really enjoyed it, Anne!

  6. Some of the characters have quite literary names!

  7. Ann- Thanks for stopping by!

    Bybee - Yes, and Finch was a Hawthorne scholar. Zee's name is Zenobia. Melville was a nickname applied to Finch's partner that stuck until everyone called him as Melville.

  8. This doesn't sound bad at all but I still need to read The Lace Reader.

  9. Caroline - She does a great job of letting the Salem setting permeate the story's atmosphere.

  10. I really need to get around to reading this!

  11. Kailana - Both The Lace Reader and A Map of True Places have good characterization and interesting story lines.