The End of the Point

( 3 )

Overview

A place out of time, Ashaunt Point in Massachussetts has provided sanctuary and anchored life for generations of the Porter family, who spend their summers along its remote, rocky shore.

But in 1942, the U.S. Army arrives on the Point, bringing havoc and change. The two older Porter girls—teenagers Helen and Dossy—run wild. The children's Scottish nurse, Bea, falls in love. And the youngest daughter, Janie, is entangled in an incident that cuts...

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The End of the Point

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Overview

A place out of time, Ashaunt Point in Massachussetts has provided sanctuary and anchored life for generations of the Porter family, who spend their summers along its remote, rocky shore.

But in 1942, the U.S. Army arrives on the Point, bringing havoc and change. The two older Porter girls—teenagers Helen and Dossy—run wild. The children's Scottish nurse, Bea, falls in love. And the youngest daughter, Janie, is entangled in an incident that cuts the season short and haunts the family for years to come.

As the decades pass, Helen, and then her son Charlie, return to the Point, seeking refuge from the rapidly changing times. But Ashaunt is not entirely removed from events unfolding beyond its borders. Neither Charlie nor his mother can escape the long shadow of history—Vietnam, the bitterly disputed real estate development of the Point, economic misfortune, illness, and tragedy.

An unforgettable portrait of one family's journey through the second half of the twentieth century, The End of the Point artfully illuminates the powerful legacy of family and place, exploring what we are born into, what we pass down, and, what we preserve, cast off or willingly set free.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Alida Becker
Graver's past fiction has been enriched by its roots in the landscapes of upstate New York and New England, by her lush descriptions of the natural world. In The End of the Point…she uses that skill to appeal to the nostalgia of anyone with fond memories of escaping to a seaside refuge…where the pages of books immediately turn limp and cherished rituals (the morning walk, the afternoon swim, the pause to watch the sunset) are punctuated by hours and hours of the freedom to do anything, or nothing…Graver's engaging, expansive storytelling allows us to take up residence inside the minds of a host of different characters, watching as they create their own pictures of the world around them, as they invest certain places and people with mythic significance.
Publishers Weekly
It’s 1942, and the Porters are coming back to Ashaunt, Mass., the piece of the New England coast they’ve always come back to, no matter that the Army is building barracks and viewing platforms there. Graver (Awake) opens her fourth novel with a beautifully evoked glimpse of the very first arrival at Ashaunt—that of the Europeans—and the native people’s eventual sale (or, alternately, “bargain, theft, or gift”) of the land. She then moves omnisciently and believably through the minds of Bea, the Porters’ Scottish nanny, and the wild Helen, the oldest daughter. As 1942 gives way to 1947, 1961, then 1970, and finally 1999, Graver also moves fluidly across time, all on this same beloved piece of land. Bea is a wonderful character, and Graver is incredibly good at evoking past, present, and future, and the ways in which they intersect. Unfortunately, the latter sections of the book, which focus mostly on Helen, no longer a wild girl, and her adult son Charlie, aren’t quite as strong, perhaps because the issues of generational strife, blowback from drug use, and land development are more familiar. That said, Graver’s gifts—her control of time, her ability to evoke place and define character—are immense. Agent: Richard Parks, the Richard Parks Agency. (Mar.)
Carol Haggas
"With a style and voice reminiscent of William Trevor and Graham Swift, Graver’s powerfully evocative portrait of a family strained by events both large and small celebrates the indelible influence certain places can exert over the people who love them."
Library Journal
The Porter family, which has summered for generations at Ashaunt Point, a spit of land pushing into Buzzards Bay, MA, is entirely unsettled when the U.S. Army arrives there in 1942. The next generation tries and fails to find escape at Ashaunt Point as Vietnam looms. From Drue Henz Literature Prize winner Graver; perhaps not the biggest title here, but it's loved in house.
Library Journal
Graver's (Awake) family saga spans the latter half of the 20th century. The wealthy Porters have a summer home in Ashaunt Point, MA, which plays a significant role in the lives of the family. The novel's point of view varies among Bea, the Scottish nanny for the Porter's youngest daughter; Helen, the oldest and wildest of the Porter girls; and Charlie, Helen's oldest child. Bea narrates one summer on the island in 1942—but is it about her or the children? Helen's letters and diary entries dominate the middle section, which is followed by her son Charlie's struggles to find himself on the Point in the 1970s. VERDICT The last section brings us to the near present and ties up the loose ends, but doesn't really answer the question, Who is the subject of the novel? The way in which the narrative perspective switches between characters may not be for everyone but makes this an excellent choice for book clubs. [See Prepub Alert, 9/10/12.]—Pamela Mann, St. Mary's Coll. Lib., MD
Kirkus Reviews
This multigenerational story of a privileged family's vacations on Massachusetts' Buzzards Bay is as much about the place as the people. In 1942, wheelchair-bound insurance executive Mr. Porter (shades of FDR), his stoic wife, three daughters--beloved oldest son Charlie is off training to be a pilot--and gardening expert mother, along with assorted staff, are one of the few families summering at Ashaunt Point, where an Army base has been temporarily set up nearby. Graver (Awake, 2004, etc.) introduces the family members, particularly the bright, slightly rebellious 16-year-old Helen, in sharp, nuanced sketches while focusing on Bea, the family's Scottish nursemaid, who is devoted to youngest daughter, Jane. After the first true romance of her life, 34-year-old Bea turns down a soldier's marriage proposal in order to remain with the Porters. By 1947, Helen takes the story's center stage. Studying abroad, newly in love with ideas and a man, she writes reflective but girlishly innocent letters home. By the '60s, when Hurricane Donna hits Ashaunt, all three sisters have married. While Jane seems conventionally happy and middle sister Dossy suffers from bouts of clinical depression, Helen is still trying to find her way. Pregnant with her fourth child while enrolled in graduate school, she feels torn between love of family and growing intellectual ambitions. A decade later, Helen's troubled oldest son, Charlie, named after the uncle who was killed in World War II and always Helen's favorite, moves into a cabin on the peninsula, which he finds threatened by encroaching development. Helen and Charlie's difficult but enduring mother–son relationship is particularly moving, but every character is given his/her emotional due. As one generation passes to the next, Ashaunt Point remains the gently wild refuge where the Porters can most be themselves. A lovely family portrait: elegiac yet contemporary, formal yet intimate.
Alida Becker
“Eloquent ….Graver’s engaging, expansive storytelling allows us to take up residence inside the minds of a host of different characters, watching as they create their own pictures of the world around them, as they invest certain places and people with mythic significance.”
Jan Stuart
“With her fourth and most emotionally textured novel, Graver proves herself a master chronicler of the ever-spiraling human comedy. The End of the Point is a work of uncommon gracefulness, as much in its boundless empathy as in the luminosity of its prose.”
Booklist (starred review)
“With a style and voice reminiscent of William Trevor and Graham Swift, Graver’s powerfully evocative portrait of a family strained by events both large and small celebrates the indelible influence certain places can exert over the people who love them.”
Gish Jen
“In this globalized age, with everyone talking about migration, here comes Elizabeth Graver to remind us of just what place can mean. The attachment in this gorgeously written, enormously moving book transcends time and personality. It is deep, extraordinarily ordinary, and finally provocative.”
Ron Rash
“One place and one family are inextricably linked in this marvelous novel. Elizabeth Graver writes with a painter’s attentiveness to detail, and creates from these particulars a vivid rendering of American life from 1942 to the century’s end.”
Lily King
“An engrossing and intimate portrait of a New England family and the patch of land that gives them solace, generation after generation, when other people cannot. Graver’s writing is simply stunning on every page, and she has gone deep under the skin of these characters to create this magnificent novel.”
Edith Pearlman
“This absorbing novel spans half a century, and deals with war, love, illness, frustration, ambition, politics—and most particularly with place and its meaning. I was embedded in The End of the Point—not so much reading it as living it: a deep and singular experience.”
Margot Livesey
“Is it possible for a novel to be at once cunning and magnificent, epic and compressed, topical and timeless? Yes, yes, yes, in the case of Elizabeth Graver’s gorgeous The End of the Point.”
Stewart O'Nan
The End of the Point is intimate and rich and compelling, a sprawling saga that evokes both the wildness and fragility of the New England coast.”
Leah Hager Cohen
“Elizabeth Graver is an uncommonly fine writer: dancingly in command of language, yet always, foremost, faithful to something quieter and more essential - call it the complexities of truth. The ambitious scope of her new novel is beautifully matched by her largeness of spirit. I would read anything this author writes.”
Pamela Mann
“An excellent choice for book clubs.”
New York Times Book Review
“Eloquent ….Graver’s engaging, expansive storytelling allows us to take up residence inside the minds of a host of different characters, watching as they create their own pictures of the world around them, as they invest certain places and people with mythic significance.”
Boston Globe
“With her fourth and most emotionally textured novel, Graver proves herself a master chronicler of the ever-spiraling human comedy. The End of the Point is a work of uncommon gracefulness, as much in its boundless empathy as in the luminosity of its prose.”
The Millions
“Graver takes an eloquent, balanced look at the power of place and time and the evolution of a family of flawed but relatable characters, building a subtle symphony that unfolds over decades….Graver is a master at showing how beautifully ordinary people survive the twists and turns of everyday life.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062184849
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Pages: 338
  • Sales rank: 710,862
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Graver is the author of the novels Awake, The Honey Thief, and Unravelling; her short story collection Have You Seen Me? won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She is the mother of two daughters, and teaches English and creative writing at Boston College.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2013

    I really enjoyed this book. The way the author weaved the story

    I really enjoyed this book. The way the author weaved the story of the generations together was compelling. And as someone who spent all her childhood summers at the beach, I could relate to the way the characaters felt about their beloved summer escape.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Boring people

    Well written but I kept waiting for a story to develop and hoped it would get better, neither happened.
    Boring people who had no real problems while living and then....... wait for it......they died. If you grew up in the same geographical area as where this novel took place maybe you could enjoy how it goes on and on about living next to the ocean. Blah blah blah, who cares.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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