Monday, March 11, 2013

book review: The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver

The basics: Spanning three generations of the Porter family and fifty years of their relationships with their hired help, The End of the Point focuses on the family at four different times in history, beginning in the 1940's. Much of the novel takes place at their summer home in Ashaunt, Massachusetts.

My thoughts: Reading The End of the Point made me realize how much I love present-future narrators. As the story of the Porter family unfolds, the reader gets hints of how things are now, even though the story is told in the moment:
"If things had turned out differently, she would have begun the story here--or no, Smitty would have told it; unlike Bea, he loved an audience, he'd have made it funny, drawn it out."
These moments aren't frequent, but as I encountered each one, it felt as though I was unwrapping a present. We don't have the certainty of the future in our own lives, but literature can provide us with one for these characters. It's a testament to Graver's writing and character building that this technique feels so real. I was utterly absorbed in this family that kept growing in number as the generations increased. Graver infuses so much richness into each of them, it's astonishing the novel is as short as it is. It feels more epic than its number of pages, and it feels like a complete story of the people in their time and place. Ashaunt is a character itself:
"She loves her house with a tenderness that makes it feel almost human."
I pictured it so vividly and delighted in seeing how the bedrooms changed hands over the years and depending on which siblings and cousins were there on a given weekend. In fact, as the narrative moved forward to the next moment in time, the house provides the structure, both literally and figuratively, as the reader takes stock of what has changed since the last moment in time.

As I read the last pages, I wept openly and publicly in the airport terminal. When I turned the last page, I was immensely satisfied, yet sad to say goodbye to these characters who felt like family in the two short days I spent with them. Most of all, I wondered how I had not heard of Elizabeth Graver until this, her fourth novel.

Favorite passage: "Largely, now, it was not anger he felt, but rather a kind of bone-scraping, quiet, ever-present sorrow. To come to the place that was supposed to stay the same, to come and find it changed. Dr. Miller had warned him against what he called the "geographic cure." You can't fix yourself by going somewhere else, he'd said. You'll always take yourself along."

The verdict: The End of the Point is a beautifully written, deeply moving portrait of three generations of the Porter family and the their evolving relationships with their servants and caregivers.

Rating: 5 out of 5
Length: 352 pages
Publication date: March 5, 2013
Source: publisher via TLC Book Tours

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The End of the Point from the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)

Want more? Check out the entire tour schedule, visit Elizabeth Graver's website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!

6 comments:

  1. This is one that I am bound and determined to get to soon. It sounds like a beautiful story, and one that left you with so much emotion. I would love to read this one and compare notes!

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  2. Eeee, you've sold me -- the quotes you've shared and your comments have me super eager -- it sounds lovely!

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  3. Nicely done. I am on the tour so I must start reading my copy soon. Glad to know that you enjoyed it so much!

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  4. "it felt as though I was unwrapping a present" - I've never thought about it like that but I know exactly what you mean ... I LOVE that type of narrator!

    Sounds like I need to have this on at the top of my TBR!

    Thanks for being on the tour.

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  5. I just started this book, so I'm so glad to see you gave it 5 stars. I'll be sure to have some tissues in my pocket for when I get to the end!

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  6. This is on my TBR - will bump it up!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!