This story is about Zee, a woman whose mother committed suicide when Zee was a young teenager. Zee’s father acknowledged his sexuality and let his long-time lover move in after his wife’s death; now he is older and has Parkinson’s. Zee dealt with all the upheaval in her life by becoming the person who always did what she thought other people wanted, all the way up to her current career choice as a private practice psychologist and her engagement to a man who loves her, even though she’s not sure she feels the same way. Zee’s world begins to unravel when one of her patients commits suicide.
This was an interesting book, dealing primarily with various physical and psychological disorders, with GLBT themes and abuse/stalking themes mixed in. It takes place in Salem, same as in her first book, The Lace Reader, which I listened to on audio not long ago. Some of the characters cross over from the two books as well, though it’s a completely separate storyline. At first, I admit, I thought I liked The Lace Reader better. It has a more interesting hook, whereas this book seemed to be less imaginative for the first half. Not that it was badly done or anything. It was well-written, but it seems a more general human interest story, without any particular hook, and so I was less interested.
The second half got very interesting, though, with a lot more turns than I was expecting. I think, by the end, I would say the two books were pretty well on par with each other. The Lace Reader definitely had a stronger hook, but The Map of True Places had me listening constantly, finishing the audio in only three days, and I think was more finely woven together than The Lace Reader. Both were very enjoyable and I definitely want to read more from Barry in the future.
As for the performance, this audiobook was read by the same narrator as my copy of The Lace Reader, Alyssa Bresnahan. She is a fantastic reader and I like that she read both books. It helped to keep me in the same spirit while listening to both books, which was great since the setting and some of the characters were the same. I hope she keeps reading them in the future!