“On the point you can still find bones – fox sculls, rabbit femurs, porpoise vertebrae, and, on the shore in the crevice between two hard-lodged stones, a milk tooth lost by a child no longer a child.”
A tale spanning generations, The End of the Point immerses the reader in a specific geographic location – Ashaunt Point, which is a tiny peninsula reaching into Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts. From 1942 to the present day, author Elizabeth Graver takes the reader on a journey where we witness the Porter family’s ties to the land, and the way that time affects both.
Graver’s writing is stunning. Not only does she get inside her characters, but her attention to detail is impressive:
“It was an old metal milk truck with the wheels removed, painted army fatigue green so that blended into the bush, but you could still see some letters through the paint – an S, a V.”
There is no question that Graver is a literary artist. There was also some excellent character development, specifically with the younger Charlie from the 1970’s to the present. My biggest complaint would be that Graver took too long to establish the storyline in the beginning and I found it difficult to keep track of who the characters were. With the exception of “Plants and their Children” about 100 pages or so into the book, the style was third person narrative. This particular chapter changed things up a bit with a first person narrative, specifically in diary form. This really worked for me, and the transition helped me to better absorb the actual story.
While the family is affected by the times (specifically World War II and the Vietnam era) don’t expect dramatics here. The changes are subtle and quite a bit is internal to the characters. A John Jakes saga this is not.
The End of the Point is a quiet, intimate novel, rich in landscape and prose that shows how people and place can be connected as surely as family.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013