Some novels are propelled by a breakneck plot or suspenseful narrative; others are driven by character development. Still others, like Elizabeth Graver's The End of the Point
, are pulled together by a strong and unifying sense of place. In this case, the place is Ashaunt Point on Massachusetts's Buzzards Bay, where the Porter family has summered for generations. At times, in fact, it seems as if the Porters have little to hold them together beyond this point of land, the place where they can be most at peace, most themselves.
Graver's novel spans several decades of the twentieth century and several generations of the Porter family. It opens (following a brief historical vignette in which the original Native Americans sign their land over to the colonists for a pittance) in 1942, at a time when American troops have (unofficially of course) been stationed on the point,...
Beyond the Book
Elizabeth Graver's novel is set on a (fictional) point jutting out into Buzzards Bay, which borders Massachusetts and is tucked in between the southwest coast of Cape Cod, Plymouth and Bristol Counties on the mainland. New Bedford, which was the world's leading whaling port in the nineteenth century, is the most major city on the bay.
Buzzards Bay was, as Graver suggests in her forward, originally occupied by the Wampanoag tribe and was sold to a group of thirty-four Colonial shareholders in 1652 for "30 yards of cloth, 87 moose skins, 15 axes, 15 hoes, 15 breeches, 8 blankets, 2 kettles, one cloak, 2 English...