San Francisco Book Review

The Map of True Places was reviewed in the September issue. Thanks San Francisco Book Review!

Zee Finch is the star of this story and we meet her in her adulthood working as a respected psychotherapist in Boston. We understand that she worked hard to obtain this professional position, and also to win the heart of Boston’s most eligible bachelor. But we know immediately that Zee’s response to her life, work, and engagement is tepid, that her “true nature” is somehow dimmed and muted. The story is of Zee’s traveling the course that reveals the reasons this is so.

Navigation is the central theme of the book. “It is not down on any map, true places never are” is the quote from Herman Melville on the face page and each chapter is introduced with a navigational truth that reinforces the theme. This contributes to what is so compelling about this book: its artistry. Barry moves deftly from present to past and back again so artfully that the reader is instantly captivated by the complexity of the characters, the veracity of the time and place (fantastic detail about the history of Boston and Salem) and soon hopes fervently that the heroine will find happiness. Add to artful construction, beautifully drawn characters, the conflicts and tensions of a really good story and you have a book you regret having to finish.

You can see it in context <here>. It's on page 2, upper left corner.