SALEM — New York Times bestselling author Brunonia Barry will conclude this year’s Salem Literary Festival with a discussion of her heralded book, “The Map of True Places,” at The House of the Seven Gables on Wed., Nov. 18, at 6 p.m. Set in Boston and Salem, Barry’s novel has been reviewed as “immersive and beautifully written.”
“‘The Map of True Places’ is about our true places in life,” says Barry. “I am from this area and I love this area. I even worked at The Gables for a short time and credit it with starting up my fiction-writing career!”
Barry says that she left Salem for California, where she lived for 20 years. “But I missed home so much. When I moved back in 1995 I saw that Salem was not quite the same place but that some things were different and some things were better. Salem is my true place. I know that. I began to think about what that means. What constitutes true place? For me, it’s about meaning and permanence.”
Metaphorically, ‘True place’ goes beyond meaning and permanence. It readily calls to mind the journey necessary to reach that precious true place. And as a maritime port of worldwide significance, this theme of navigation threads through Barry’s book, as well. As does Hawthorne. One of the book’s main characters lives directly across the street from The Gables. He is a Hawthorne scholar, not unlike Barry, whose two favorite authors are Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville.
How did Barry finally come to “The Map of True Places”?
“I used to write at The Gables, in the garden under the arbor. Dusty the cat would visit me there. It was an amazing place to write. I think the place inspired the book to begin with. Sitting in that wonderful garden in that inspiring and historic setting, the story just came. The muse was sitting right there with me.”
“The Map of True Places” is Barry’s second book set in Salem. The first, “The Lace Reader,” was an international bestseller. A third, also set in Salem, is due for release in January 2017.
The lecture begins at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at the Visitor Center, The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby St., Salem, MA. The cost is $7 and members receive free admission. Those interested may call 978-744-0991, ext. 104.
About The House of the Seven Gable Settlement Association
The mission of the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association is to preserve our National Historic Landmark and leverage its power as an icon of American culture to engage diverse audiences and provide education opportunities for our local immigrant community.