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Point Of No Return Paperback – November, 1985


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 559 pages
  • Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers (November 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897331745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897331746
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,421,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Seriously, if one is satisfied stop with the word requirements!
Brian Glubish
Irony is Marquand's main tool in his writing, and he explores his characters' lives with great honesty and insight.
Bomojaz
At his best, he produced some of 20th century America's great fiction.
Bob Newman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By M. A Newman VINE VOICE on March 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
There are few books published like this any more and I wonder why. One reason could be that people do not read like they once did and this is why serious fiction concerns itself with either life in the university (hardly the stomping ground for everyman figures) and alternately freaks and geeks. Since the death of John Cheever, there have been few books that address the trials and tribulations of the middle and upper middle class reader. One does not find sensational crimes or magic realism in works by John Marquand. While there certainly is a place for these sorts of things, it is a pity that Marquand's influence waned with his death in the 1960s.

This book concerns themes that probably are more universal than what one finds in contemporary literature. A man is seeking to get a promotion in his firm and he is in competition with another person for it. During the novel we really get "the story of his life, using the "flashback technique" that Marquand made famous in all of his best books. Along the way there is regret and a curiosity about what he might lost by not pursuing a different path. Not exactly earth shattering events, but things that grownups experience everyday.

One wonders if the reason that people do not read as they once did is due to television and other assorted distraction or for the simple reason that the books that are published are so very far removed from common experiences.

Marquand's fall since the 1960s has been a sad one. He was at one time, one the best-selling authors in the US. It is a tragedy that more of his works are not in print, this one in particular. If ever an author desereved "The Library of America" treatment it is he.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By David A. Kemp on October 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This novel has been called the shrewdest portrait of American life since Sinclair Lewis's Main Street (1920). That may be an overly ambitious claim, but the book has its points (it has also been called a painstakingly accurate social study of a New England town), and many will find it "a good old-fashioned read," a genteel, mildly absorbing family saga covering two generations. My main complaint is that it is simply too long: 559 pages, when it should have been about two-thirds that length. It is old-fashioned all right, in the sense that its pace is decidedly slow and deliberate; those who like their fiction fast-paced and dramatic need to look elsewhere. There is a sense here of all the time in the world, and the modest events of the story unfold in quite a leisurely fashion, with lengthy passages of description, exposition, explanation, reflection, retrospection. Marquand feels obliged to spell out much that a more modern writer would suggest, imply, leave his reader to infer, or simply omit. I sometimes felt I would never get to the end of it. Occasionally the book has an elegiac quality.
The protagonist, earnest, conscientious, buttoned-down, and rather dull Charley Gray, is an upper middle-class banker in his forties, back from the war, resuming his place in an old, small, traditional New York City bank in 1947, living in what would now be called a yuppie suburban development with his wife and two children, and worrying about promotion in the bank. A large part of the novel, however, is devoted to his youth, family life, and first romance in the old, small, traditional New England town (Clyde, Mass.) where he grew up and where his family has its roots.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mara Kurtz on July 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
I discovered "Point of No Return" as a teenager. It sat on a shelf in my father's library and sounded like an interesting title. It is now an old friend.
I've reread this subtle novel many times over the years and find, remarkably, that with each reading I get a different sense of Marquand's ultimate message. In fact, the whole story seems to take on new meaning over time, a delightful characteristic of every great book.
Marquand is a wonderful author. I am currently savoring his "So Little Time" and recommend all of his work. "Point of No Return," however, will always be my favorite.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bob Newman VINE VOICE on March 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
How come nobody remembers J.P. Marquand anymore ? At his best, he produced some of 20th century America's great fiction. POINT OF NO RETURN is perhaps his greatest novel and surely one of the "great American novels", up there with "An American Tragedy" by Dreiser, Warren's "All the King's Men", and Norris' "McTeague" Lewis' "Dodsworth", and several by Faulkner. It is quieter, it takes its time, and there are no dreadful family secrets, no violence, sex, or perversions of any kind. In short, it is a novel of another era, but a great novel nonetheless.

It seems to me that two opposing tendencies have always occupied American culture. One is quite puritanical, centered more in New England and Philadelphia, concerned with moderation, education, hard work, and success to those who deserve it. The Old North Church in Boston, where our nation can be said to have begun, typifies this tendency. In what other nation is the historical heart so simple and plain ? The other tendency, found in many places, but epitomized today in Las Vegas, is about luck, flash and display, raw opportunism and the devil-take-the-hindmost.

In POINT OF NO RETURN, Marquand takes an officer in a genteel Manhattan bank who hopes to be promoted to vice-president. He has a rival, somebody a bit more flashy, more willing to utter subtle put-downs behind his back. The officer, Charles Gray, hails from Newburyport, Mass., but has married and made his career elsewhere. He is sent back to his old hometown suddenly on bank business. The majority of the book is devoted to his memories of how he grew up in this small New England city on a river by the sea.
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