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The Map of True Places

By Brunonia Barry

The Map of True Places
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  • Published in USA  May 2010,
    416 pages.

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There are currently 32 reader reviews for The Map of True Places
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Rosemary K. (Saginaw, MI) (05/27/10)

An Exquisite Map
Brunonia Barry's "The Map of True Places" is a wondrous, magical story combining folk legends, psychotherapy, and American literature. Setting her tale in the same locale as her "The Lace Maker" (and occasionally alluding to characters from that same book), Barry makes the reader long to experience life in that historic Atlantic area.

The primary characters are Zee (short for Hepzibah, as in "The House of the Seven Gables"), her ailing father and his friend (affectionately known as Melville), and a young woman who commits suicide. Zee's late mother Maureen had always dreamed of experiencing "The Great Love," but this never happened. Zee wonders if she is destined to fulfill her mother's dream.

I love Brunonia Barry's writing: I read slowly, savoring her words. Except for a few sections where the story seemed to drag, I believe "The Map of True Places" can give the reader an amazing experience.
Maryanne K. (Spanaway, WA) (05/19/10)

Map of True Places
I enjoyed this book. It's a fast, fairly light read with interesting characters. The literary connections, the setting of Salem, MA, and the details related to caring for an ailing parent add to the appeal of the book. I had no expectations (not having The Lace Reader) when starting this book, but was pleasantly surprised.
Linda Z. (Corydon, IN) (05/13/10)

The Map of True Places
When I first started reading this book, I had doubts that I would enjoy it. However, the more I read the more I liked it. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns in the plot. I had no idea how things were going to progress. The appeal of this book would probably be more to women than men particularly those people facing the problem of caring for aging and sick parents. I can see some lively discussions for book clubs concerning the different characters. I loved the book and am now looking forward to reading The Lace Reader by this author.
Pam W. (Montpelier, VT) (05/12/10)

Secrets told and Untold
This is a complex tale of self-discovery that really resonated deeply with me. It's not the kind of story that wraps up neatly and then evaporates. It sticks with you and demands answers and self exploration.
Marlys D. (Grand Rapids, MI) (05/10/10)

Life Map
Another winner from Brunonia Barry! I love her quirky characters, including the "character" of Salem, MA. Zee's continuing struggle to find her true place in the world makes for compelling reading.
Sue S. (05/05/10)

NAVIGATING LIFE'S TWISTS & TURNS
Early in her novel, Brunonia Berry includes a quote from Herman Melville: " It is not down on any map. True places never are." I found this book with its setting by the sea to be about navigation: navigating the twists and turns of one's life. But the more I read about Zee Finch and her journey, I found myself getting impatient and hoping for a detour. For me, the book needed more focus.
Kandi D. (Beaverton, OR) (05/03/10)

The Map of True Places
I liked Barry’s first novel, The Lace Reader, so I was excited to read her latest. This one also takes place in and around the Salem area and even references some of the characters from the first novel. Barry does an excellent job creating an environment and making you feel like you want to plan a trip to Salem and take in the beautiful scenery and unique culture. They say you should write about what you know, and it’s obvious that Barry knows and truly loves her hometown. The story of Zee Finch and her strange and troubled family is interesting and definitely a story worth telling. But I think Barry misses the mark. Some of the events in the story seem far-fetched and forced. And some of the characters are too prescribed and unreal. But it’s definitely entertaining and keeps your interest to the final page.
Zonetta G. (Winter Springs, FL) (04/28/10)

The Map of True Places
Brunonia Barry's character development draws one immediately into the lives of the characters themselves. Her ability to navigate from present to past and back again seemss to flow neatly; fiction and fact and fantasy blend sometimes without the reader even realizing it. I loved all the allusions to Hawthorne and Melville and Old Salem. For all these reasons, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and am recommending it to my book club for this coming year.

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