The End of the Point – July 2014
So far for the books that we’ve read I haven’t given you my opinion (well not as blatantly as I could have), but with The End of the Point I’m breaking that tradition. I truly want you all to read this novel. Hopefully my review will encourage that.
The End of the Point is a beautifully told family saga that follows the Porters of Ashaunt Point, Massachusetts from the tumultuous years during World War II up until 1999 (mentally insert Prince lyrics here – I know I have a warped mind – this book has nothing in common with the song except the year.)
When we first meet the Porters they are spending their summer in their second home on this tiny point of land that juts into Buzzards Bay. Graver draws each family member from Bea the Scottish nurse to the Porter children, to Gaga the matriarch with a fine brush. Each member is integral part of the whole and truly human with desires, faults, and frailties. What draws them together and keeps them whole is this ill-gotten parcel of land, bought from Native Americans before the Porter’s ancestors came ashore by the first settlers for “thirty yards of cloth, eight moose skins, fifteen axes, fifteen hoes…” a true bargain. It’s the land that draws the family back year after year, summer after summer. It’s the land that holds them together, shelters them, comforts and holds them. A land that will change over time with hurricanes, wars, and impending development – changes that take place outside of the Porter’s control. The land that is at once a permanent member of Porter family, but their hold is tenuous at best. A land that, like the Porter’s themselves, is subjected to being disturbed and destroyed by the heavy hand of human intervention.
Graver gently reminds us that the earth doesn’t belong to us, we inhabit it and are entrusted with stewardship. The house and the land that the Porters return to grounds them and sustains them, but in the end it will go on when they no longer exist.
There are books that as you read them you think “I could have written this.” The End of the Point is a novel that reminds one that writing is a gift bestowed upon the few who are true artists. Each word, each character, each event is deftly placed and beautifully done. This is a book that is wholly human and elegant. Graver is a master and The End of the Point a masterpiece.
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