“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.” — Booklist (starred review)
Longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction
Ashaunt Point, Massachusetts, has anchored life for generations of the Porter family, who summer along its remote, rocky shore. But in 1942, the U.S. Army arrives on the Point, bringing havoc and change. That summer, the two older Porter girls—teenagers Helen and Dossie—run wild while their only brother, Charlie, goes off to train for war. The children’s Scottish nurse, Bea, falls in love. And youngest daughter Janie is entangled in an incident that cuts the season short.
An unforgettable portrait of one family’s journey through the second half of the twentieth century, Elizabeth Graver’s The End of the Point artfully probes the hairline fractures hidden beneath the surface of our lives and traces the fragile and enduring bonds that connect us.
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.