Thursday, March 28, 2013

Plotless Family Saga Dull, Disjointed

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

The hardest books for me to summarize are those that have no plot.  The End of the Point, a literary novel by Elizabeth Graver, is just such a one.  So, you get the back cover copy (which is, after all, professionally written, unlike my amateur attempts):

A place out of time, Ashaunt Point—a tiny finger of land jutting into Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts—has provided sanctuary and 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.

As the decades pass, Helen and then her son Charlie return to the Point, seeking refuge from the chaos of rapidly changing times. But Ashaunt is not entirely removed from events unfolding beyond its borders. Neither Charlie nor his mother can escape the long shadow of history—Vietnam, the bitterly disputed real estate development of the Point, economic misfortune, illness, and tragedy.

An unforgettable portrait of one family's journey through the second half of the twentieth century, 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. With subtlety and grace, Elizabeth Graver 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.
The novel covers quite a lot of territory both in terms of time and people, but there's really no overall, uniting theme.  It's very episodic, which for me equaled dull.  None of the characters (except maybe Bea) grabbed my interest or sympathies.  So, while in general, I found the book to be well-written, I struggled to finish it.  For me, it seemed boring, disjointed and just not all that engaging.  Graver can write, there's no doubt about that, I just wish she'd given this one a plot.  It would have helped.  A lot.      

(Readlikes:  Reminded me of Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh)

Grade:  C+

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language, sexual content/innuendo, and depictions of illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The End of the Point from the generous folks at Harper Collins.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.

    ReplyDelete

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