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Ashaunt Point, located on a rocky shore in Massachusetts, has served as a summer retreat for the Porter family for generations. The story picks up there with the arrival of soldiers in 1947, because of the war. This is the backdrop as Elizabeth Grazer introduces the characters who will gradually reveal themselves through language, interactions and many exquisite small details that make this a very engaging listen. The book tells the story of the family through the remainder of the century, as they each grapple with finding their way through life. She is very skillful at revealing the intentions, emotions and connections among the family members, and showing the ways each one struggles to find a meaningful life, with more and less success.
Hillary Huber's narration is very good. Whether it is the conflicted life of the Scottish nanny Bea, trying to choose between loves, or the neurotically self-absorbed Helen, or her son Charlie, dealing with the burdensome legacy of his namesake, she is good at producing many different voices and evoking moods and emotions. Built upon the duel (perhaps predictive) images of this family shelter being a rocky, remote place, and the early scenes of the army moving in beside them, the novel unsurprisingly reveals the inner (and sometimes outer) challenges for family members finding peace, even sanity, in their lives. They seem always searching for something that is also remote from their grasp, as they move through their often troubled lives. Ashaunt Point remains the place that seems to ground them, that lingers in their memories as a place of shelter.
The book is told through different voices, including letters and diaries. I found it very hard to stop listening. Although somewhat long, the author has written it with so much variety in the ways she presents the characters and story (often using a kind of future commentary that weaves in important information), that it remains interesting throughout. Recommend as a very good listen.
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