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On The End of the Point

My new novel, The End of the Point, begins in 1942 and ends in 1999 and is set almost entirely in a summer community on a two-mile long spit of land on Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay.   Inhabiting this story was, for me, an intricate and steady pleasure.  Some of the time, I became the Scottish nanny character, Bea.  Other days, I was a troubled young man, Charlie, born into privilege, trying to find himself during the Vietnam War, or his mother, Helen, a restless, fiery intellectual who loses her brother in World War II and later pins her highest hopes on Charlie, her eldest son. 

Through all the time travel and imagining, my mind kept returning, again and again, to the paths, rocks and wind-scoured ledges of the little peninsula—the “almost island” of Ashaunt Point. Ashaunt takes its inspiration from a real place where my husband’s family has spent summers for generations; my relationship to both the real place and my invented one began as that of an outsider. Over time, as my writing brought me closer, I began to experience Ashaunt Point as the fourth central character in my book.

 If place is central to The End of the Point, so, too, is the power of the written word. The people in this novel read.  They read Wallace Stevens and W.H. Auden, nature guides, A Farewell to Arms, A Secret Garden, Anna Karenina, the Johnny Chuck books.  They read romance novels, newspapers, real estate ads, and¾oops!¾each other’s diaries.  And they write.  Diaries, but also nature journals, letters of complaint, love letters, war letters.   Postcards. Protest signs.  Elegies.  Messages in bottles, bobbling out to who knows where.

 Place.  The written word.   

 It is with particularly keen pleasure that I picture this novel making its way to a bookshelf, actual or virtual, where it can meet its readers.