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The End of the Point: A Novel (P.S.) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Graver
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
Kindle Price: $9.78
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Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers

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Book Description

A precisely observed, superbly crafted novel, The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver charts the dramatic changes in the lives of three generations of one remarkable family, and the summer place that both shelters and isolates them.

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. The children’s Scottish nurse, Bea, falls in love. And youngest daughter, Janie, is entangled in an incident that cuts the season short and haunts the family for years to come.

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.



Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* For generations, the wealthy Porter family has sought refuge in its vacation home at Ashaunt Point along Massachusetts’ rocky coastline. It’s a place where Helen and her siblings can run wild and free under the watchful eye of Bea and her fellow coterie of Scottish caregivers. All is well until WWII erupts and an army outpost is installed nearby. Soldiers lure Helen to dances, seduce Bea into a hasty romance, and rob Helen’s sister Jane of her innocence. Then word comes that her brother has been killed in action, and the world can no longer be held at bay. When Helen returns decades later as a young wife and mother, she tries to re-create Ashaunt’s former simplicity for her emotionally fragile son, but the Vietnam war and the counterculture take their toll. At the end of her life, as cancer ravages her body, Helen finds Ashaunt equally threatened by environmental disasters and encroaching development, and the outrage becomes too much to bear. 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. --Carol Haggas

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."  Booklist (starred review)
  • "A lovely family portrait: elegiac yet contemporary, formal yet intimate....Helen and Charlie's difficult but enduring mother-son relationship is particularly moving, but every character is given his/her emotional due." Kirkus (starred review)
  • "An excellent choice for book clubs."  Library Journal 

Product Details

  • File Size: 631 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (March 5, 2013)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008B0K9Q6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,630 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars should be a 2013 bestseller January 10, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What wonderful writing! Elizabeth Graver has a real talent for showing, not telling, and bringing the reader right onto the scene. A simple example is a woman swimming in the ocean, who is not really a good swimmer. The author throws out a few sentences and you feel the cold water, the wet slip she's wearing because she didn't bring a bathing suit, the letting herself go and enjoying it. The whole book goes like that, no excess description or unnecessary dialogue. The most striking thing to me were the terrifying flashbacks and hallucinations that Charlie, a college student, experienced after trying acid once. Once is all it takes. This is way scarier than anything real life could come up with, and it's incredible, looking back, that in 1970 people used LSD as a recreational drug at parties. Lots of kids must not have known what they were playing with. The author also brings to life the Vietnam war and how it destroyed a generation. The other thing I noticed was the title as a double entendre, i.e., the physical end of Ashaunt Point where the Porter family spends every summer, where the land meets the water, and also the end, beginning in 1970, of this once-wealthy family's way of life as land is sold off for development and it's no longer just a few old families. This is just a stunning work of art and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys family sagas and New England.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First book of 2013 marvels this reader. January 2, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Meet the Porters, a well to do family that own a summer compound on Ashaunt Point, MA. Discover the beauty and treachery of this island that must withstand various changes as time marches through. The events of the 1940's when the army commandeers it as a lookout for German and Japanese subs is accounted to us by the Scottish governess, Beatrice(now 37) who raises the youngest of the Porter girls, Janie. Havoc ensues that year, beginning the tinge of imperfection. Graver's descriptions of this small place and the embedding of it's splendor in the Porter's souls begin to tarnish as Helen and Dossy, the two oldest and restless teens lose their brother to WWII, watch the violation of the army barracks to the wildlife and environmental beauty, and further violation to their young sister, Janie, jarring the family's sense of complete safety.

The 50's and 60's are described in letter and diary entries as Helen, the oldest, moves on to marry, bear four children while constanly atempting to achieve impossible standards. Charlie, her oldest son takes on the 70's discontent; a bad LSD trip that damages him, his refuge while healing being the wilds of Ashaunt Point's yet unspoiled foliage. The later years to 1999 when the novel ends are deftly covered by all three.

Elizabeth Graver delivers a stunning novel. Descriptions of place so intriguingly offered the reader feels they are residing on Ashaunt Point as well. Descriptions of the inner turmoil of the characters is smartly handled by this author's brilliant analytic insight.

Not an easy read, either literally or emotionally, but one that challenges we bibliophiles that love literature at it's finest and most powerful.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buzzard's Bay family enclave harbors family sins January 14, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ashuant Point, home to a small colony of rambling family beach cottages originally used to escape the heat and pestilence of the nearby big cities, has become a touchstone to several generations of Porters. Dips in the chilly waters, hiking, climbing over the rocky shores, sailing, gardening, all those healthy, calorie-burning, kid- wearying activities you expect to build character and strong bodies. Until the Army arrives on the Point in 1942, annexing part of the land to build a base to watch the access to the strategic Bay and a foreshadowing of the changes that World War II will bring to the entire country when a generation of men goes off to war.

This generation of older Porter daughters hones their flirting skills with the local troops and even Bea, the stoic Scottish nanny to the Porters, succumbs to the advances of one older Army man. Bea's had a hard life, coming from a poor family where alcoholism and drudgery has taken its toll. Does she want to continue in her current life, with its small measure of independence, tending to a child she loves, or wed herself to a man who would straitjacket her into his life in the family business, taking care of his aging mother? Or possibly even end up a war widow? The choice is all too easy when the beloved child is manhandled by one of the enlisted Army men and the Porter's return early to the city, not to return for several years.

If you enjoy the sweep of Julian Fellow's "Downton Abbey", "The End of the Point" is right up your alley. It's America's equivalent of the middle British aristocracy with the rambling daughter, the "failure to launch" son, the matriarch who insists on tradition and uses denial to deal with lapses in behavior.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
THE END OF THE POINT

The year is 1942 and the Porter family has arrived in all their glory to Ashaunt Point, a piece of land that protrudes into Buzzard Bay, Massachusetts. The Porters have summered here forever and the summer of 1942 is no exception. This year, however, the US Army has taken possession of the end of the Point to set up camp to protect our nation against attack from the air/sea.

The Porters are a tight-knit group, and they, along with various cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, enjoy their summers here on Ashaunt. Helen and Dossie Porter, teenaged sisters, love the fact that the Army is there and so many attractive soldiers are at their disposal. Bea and Agnes, the Scottish nurses who are in charge of the children, also enjoy the company of the soldiers, in fact, Bea falls in love for the first time in her life. Helen and Dossie are out of control and out to have a great time no matter what the consequences. Bea is busy with the youngest sister, Janie, a child Bea is deeply attached to and is totally protective of. While the Army is there to protect our country and the Porters welcome them to the island, what happens to cause mistrust and havoc between the soldiers and the Porters?

The book takes us into the private lives of these privileged and rich society people, exposing their deep dark secrets, loves, marriages, children, illnesses. The book spans from the early 1940's and moves through the decades up until the ending in 1999. The family multiplies, the children marrying, moving on, but always true and faithful to each other, and always returning to Ashaunt.

Graver introduces quite a clique of family members, many generations come and go.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Very difficult to follow..many gaps..forced myself to finish it
Published 1 month ago by m
2.0 out of 5 stars What was the point?
I found myself struggling to get through it. It was confusing, long, and I didn't get the point. It jumped all over the place (countries, people, time period, etc). Read more
Published 2 months ago by Julia A. Hallberg
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written broad look at a family over time
This book explores one family's relationship to each other and a beautiful piece of land they own by the ocean. They visit the land - and each other - over the years. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jonathan Robbins
4.0 out of 5 stars History of Family Life in a Seaside Resort before and after World War...
The book delved deeply into the inner lives of a wealthy family living in a large summer house on the coast of Massachusetts. Read more
Published 3 months ago by SHIRLEY L. HANDLER
3.0 out of 5 stars Watching a calm summer sea
The story follows several generations in and around one family, as they visit their vacation house on a peninsula once owned by American Indians. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rebecca Wiering
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
well written, evocative, true.
Published 4 months ago by michael beverley
2.0 out of 5 stars Do Not Visit This Family
Graver's multi-generational tale started with an intriguing slow build that quickly eroded like a storm struck beach cliff. It falters by being too ambitious and self-serious. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jeffrey Swystun
3.0 out of 5 stars Review The End of the Point
Even though at the end of the book all things come together ,so to speak, it was not easy to remain interested in the story. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Monikle
2.0 out of 5 stars Found it difficult to follow sometimes.
Found it difficult to follow sometimes. didn't quite understand why they picked the two characters they did choose to narrate the story
Published 5 months ago by carol oughton
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
Parts of this book were well written and engaging. I got to know the characters, but felt there were gaps in their development. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Marion Post
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More About the Author

Elizabeth Graver's fourth novel, The End of the Point, illuminates the powerful legacy of family and place, exploring what we are born into, what we pass down, preserve, cast off or willingly set free. Set in a summer community on Buzzard's Bay from 1942 to 1999, the book tells the story of one family and a place over half a century. Selected as one of ten books on the 2013 National Book Awards Long List in Fiction, The End of the Point received rave reviews from The New York Times and The Boston Globe and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Graver is the author of three other novels: Awake, The Honey Thief, and Unravelling. Her short story collection, Have You Seen Me?, won the 1991 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories (1991, 2001); Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards (1994, 1996, 2001); The Pushcart Prize Anthology (2001), and Best American Essays (1998). Her story "The Mourning Door" was awarded the Cohen Prize from Ploughshares Magazine. The mother of two daughters, she teaches English and Creative Writing at Boston College.

For more information:

elizabethgraver.com

facebook.com/elizabethgraverauthor

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