I love Cape Cod unfortunately this year I won’t be able to get there so why not drag you all along as I visit one of my favorite places via one of my favorite novels.
We have left the West Coast and traveled over 2500 miles and have landed in a fictional jut of land near Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Yet again I’ve chosen a novel where sense of place is so important. In Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Seattle was a crucial aspect of the plot. One might argue that Semple could have placed Bernadette anywhere and she might have cracked regardless of place, but I get the sense that the peculiarities of Seattle (weather, population, Microsoft, proximity to Canada, etc.) were instrumental in pushing our beloved Bernadette over the proverbial Blackberry bush overrun cliff.
I said in my earlier review “It’s the land that draws the family back year after year,
summer after summer. It’s the land that holds them together, shelters them, comforts and holds them. A land that will change over time with hurricanes, wars, and impending development – changes that take place outside of the Porter’s control.”
Do you agree? Does Ashaunt Point play a vital role in the story? Why or why not?
In an interview with BookBrowse Elizabeth Graver discusses in length about the setting and why she chose Buzzards Bay.
“Over they ears, as the story took shape, I spent a part of every summer and many fall and spring weekends at the real place that my fictional place grew out of. Often,while I was there, I wrote. I walked the paths, navigated the rocks to swim in the ocean and began to feel that the land—and the one-room cabin my husband had built on it—was a kind of home to me—not(as it is to my husband and our daughters) a first home, but a surrogate second home, at once alluring and vexed. I watched my children learn to walk, swim and ve in nature there, the place a great gift for them but also a complicated privilege and even a danger—for how fully it can shelter and how much it can exclude. I used this real place as a way to begin to imagine my fictional Ashaunt Point.”
Is there a place that evokes this feeling for you?
“Generations of my husband’s immediate and extended family have spent summers at this place, the land getting increasingly divided up, as smaller cabins were built behind bigger houses and property changed hands or was sold off. During WWII, part of the peninsula was taken over by the army, which established a Harbor Entrance Control Post where it stationed 200 troops. Later, new property owners, “outsiders,”bought land and built houses with heat and swimming pools. What used to be fields kept low by sheep have grown into thickets.”
Even if there is no “special place” that you visit on vacation if you live on Long Island you may be noticing a shrinking of what make “the Island” special – huge houses are being constructed on land that was set aside for much smaller homes, the “urbanization” of a suburban community. Does this resonate with you?
Keep reading and please share your thoughts with all of us.