“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.”
Barry's considerable if overplotted latest delves into the long-lingering effects of a mother's suicide. Fifteen years ago, Maureen Finch, a discontented wife and bipolar mother to 13-year-old Zee, commits suicide while Zee watches. Flash forward to the present day, and Zee is a therapist with a new patient, Lilly Braedon, who is far too much like Maureen, and after Lilly kills herself, Zee walks away from her practice and travels back to Salem, Mass., to visit her father and his partner, Melville, only to find that her father's Parkinson's disease is advancing rapidly. With Melville missing, Zee becomes a full-time caregiver and must face the half-truths and twisted memories that have compromised her connection to her father, all the while examining how her mother's legacy extends into her life and a fledgling romance. This is a lovingly told story with many well-drawn characters, who sooner or later reconsider the courses charted by personal decisions and circumstance. But there is almost too much story here, and Barry (The Lace Reader) compromises the third act with a weak subplot about Lilly's traumatic last days that reads as an intrusion on an otherwise well-told tale.
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This has been my favorite book since I first read it a few summers ago.