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About The Book

“A magnificent storytelling feat” (The Boston Globe) story of lifelong friendship between two very different “superbly depicted” (The Wall Street Journal) women with shared histories, divisive loyalties, hidden sorrows, and eighty years of summers on a pristine point of land on the coast of Maine, set across the arc of the 20th century.

Celebrated children’s book author Agnes Lee is determined to secure her legacy—to complete what she knows will be the final volume of her pseudonymously written Franklin Square novels; and even more consuming, to permanently protect the peninsula of majestic coast in Maine known as Fellowship Point. To donate the land to a trust, Agnes must convince shareholders to dissolve a generations-old partnership. And one of those shareholders is her best friend, Polly.

Polly Wister has led a different kind of life than Agnes: that of a well-off married woman with children, defined by her devotion to her husband, a philosophy professor with an inflated sense of stature. She strives to create beauty and harmony in her home, in her friendships, and in her family. Polly soon finds her loyalties torn between the wishes of her best friend and the wishes of her three sons—but what is it that Polly wants herself?

Agnes’s designs are further muddied when an enterprising young book editor named Maud Silver sets out to convince Agnes to write her memoirs. Agnes’s resistance cannot prevent long-buried memories and secrets from coming to light with far-reaching repercussions for all.

“An ambitious and satisfying tale” (The Washington Post), Fellowship Point reads like a 19th-century epic, but it is entirely contemporary in its “reflections on aging, writing, stewardship, legacies, independence, and responsibility. At its heart, Fellowship Point is about caring for the places and people we love...This magnificent novel affirms that change and growth are possible at any age” (The Christian Science Monitor).

Reading Group Guide


After a cancer recurrence, children’s book author Agnes Lee decides to secure her legacy by completing the final volume in her Franklin Square book series—a string of literary novels published under a pseudonym. Meanwhile, and just as time consuming, is her plan to protect a majestic stretch of land along the Maine peninsula known as Fellowship Point. To do this, Agnes must convince shareholders to dissolve a generations-old land trust. And one of these shareholders happens to be Agnes’s best friend, Polly.

Unlike Agnes—who is childless, irascible, and independent—Polly Wister is a well-off, married woman who is devoted to her husband and three sons. She often defers to the wishes of her family, and her loyalties are torn when she is forced to decide who to support. Is it Agnes, her lifelong best friend? Or is it her family? What is it, really, that Polly wants herself?

Their relationship is further complicated by the appearance of Maud, a young and enterprising book editor who wants Agnes to complete a memoir. Agnes resists, but her long-buried memories and secrets begin to resurface, with far-reaching consequences for all. Deep and emphatic in its portrayal of women’s lives, Fellowship Point is a masterwork that reckons with history, posterity, class, and, ultimately, the friendships that sustain us.


1. Evaluate the themes of gender, feminism, and domesticity in Fellowship Point. How do characters, like Agnes, subvert expectations of womanhood? How does Polly, and how does Maud?

2. Early in the novel, Agnes describes the project of fiction as seeking “to reveal what a particular person [is] bound to do under explicit circumstances” (6). Do you agree with her? If not, how does your idea of fiction’s project differ?

3. Do you think Agnes’s idea evolves or changes over the course of the book? Alternatively, what would you imagine to be Polly’s idea of fiction? Maud’s?

4. The act of writing appears throughout the novel, often in different iterations. As readers, we encounter book synopses, letters, academic papers, and more. Discuss the significance of this, taking into consideration the secrets characters are willing to reveal on the page, but not to each other.

5. Class is another theme in Fellowship Point. Track where it shows up, and how, and explore its relationship to gender. For example, is it significant that many of the landowners in this novel are women?

6. Art, literature, and the creation of both appear to be recurring motifs in the novel. Characters write, read, comment on art, struggle to produce it, etc. What do you think the author is saying about artistry in this novel—especially as it pertains to work and womanhood?

7. Discuss the two epigraphs that open the book. How do they inform your interpretation of the novel’s different themes?

8. How would you characterize Agnes’s friendship with Polly? How do you think that friendship evolves throughout the novel—especially with the introduction of Maud—and what do you think the book is saying about how well people know each other?

9. Fellowship Point opens with a map of Cape Deel—one that foregrounds many of the novel’s important settings. As a reader, did you notice any location that isn’t represented on this map? Conversely, are there locations that are represented on the map, but which then play smaller roles within the narrative?

10. Discuss the shifting viewpoints in Fellowship Point. How does the arrangement of them, as well as the fact that we travel across time (from 2000 to the 1870s) and space (from Philadelphia to Manhattan), affect our experience of the story?

11. Evaluate the themes of conservation and environmentalism in the story. How does it intersect with the novel’s other themes, like that of gender? Class? How might you characterize the people seeking to preserve Fellowship Point, and the ones seeking to redevelop it?


1. Imagine if Fellowship Point were narrated by a single character. What would the story look like if it were filtered through Polly’s point of view? Agnes’s or Maud’s? How would the book change—in plot and sensibility—if it were told through the perspective of one of the male characters?

2. Write a story about an important place in your life from your own point of view. Then write it from a friend or family member’s perspective. Does your idea of that important place change? Why, how, or why not?

3. Draw a map that foregrounds the important locations in your neighborhood and life, taking into consideration the places you might have to omit. Compare it with a map one of your book club members drew. How do they differ? What settings, if any, recur?

About The Author

Photograph by James Leng

Alice Elliott Dark is the author the novels Fellowship Point and Think of England, as well as two collections of short stories, In the Gloaming and Naked to the Waist. Her work has appeared in The New YorkerHarper’sThe New York Times, Best American Short Stories, and O. Henry: Prize Stories, among othersHer award-winning story “In the Gloaming” was made into two films and was chosen for inclusion in Best American Stories of the Century. Dark is a past recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She is an associate professor at Rutgers-Newark in the MFA program.

Product Details

  • Publisher: S&S/Marysue Rucci Books (July 5, 2022)
  • Length: 592 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982131869

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Raves and Reviews

"It is very much an epic read, a book for readers who want to settle in for a story at a near whopping 600 pages by the author of one of my favorite short stories ever, 'In the Gloaming.'"

—John Searles, NYTimes-Bestselling Author of Strange but True, via The Today Show "5 Summer Reads You Won't Want to Put Down"

"A sweeping story of lifelong best will surely want to read this book. Elegantly structured, beautifully written, and altogether diverting, with a powerful message about land ownership in America."
Kirkus (Starred Review)

“Dark (Think of England) celebrates women’s friendships and artistic mentorship in this expansive yet intimate novel. The families and their grudges and grievances fill a broad canvas, and within it Dark delves deeply into the relationships between Agnes and her work, humans and the land, mothers and children, and, most indelibly, the sustenance and joy provided by a long-held female friendship. It’s a remarkable achievement.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Fellowship Point is a marvel. Intricately constructed, utterly unique, this novel set on the coast of Maine is filled with insights about writing, about the perils and freedoms of aging, about the great mysteries, as well as the pleasures, of life. The story about the relationships between three women unfolds, as life does, through joys and losses, confrontations and confessions, with twists along the way that change your perception of all that came before. This is a world is so closely and acutely observed that I felt I lived in it. I was sorry to leave."
Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"I can’t remember the last time I’ve fallen so hard for a book. Fellowship Point is about many things: friendship, secrets, legacy, love, family—but the true magic here is in the writing. Alice Elliott Dark has conjured a world so immersive I can still feel it in my bones. I mourned the finish, when I would have to leave behind the characters I grew to love. This captivating, unforgettable novel is thrillingly good.” Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of Nest and Good Company

"Fellowship Point is deeply relevant in its concerns—about the land, the creatures who inhabit it, and the legacies of ownership, stewardship, and friendship—but it’s also just a great, absorbing, and transformative read. Like a Maine glade, Dark’s book is filled with light."
—Jo Ann Beard, author of Festival Days and In Zanesville

"I positively inhaled this novel--and then stingily meted out the last few pages, not wanting it to end. FELLOWSHIP POINT is a marvel--masterfully executed, beautifully layered, huge-hearted and sharp-witted--and Alice Elliott Dark is a writer of great empathy and incredible skill."
—Claire Lombardo, New York Times Bestselling author of The Most Fun We Ever Had

“I fell into Fellowship Point--fell in step and in love with its characters, with its landscape, with its ideas about art and marriage and, above all, friendship. It's a beautifully passionate book about what it means to love a place and to love all the people of your life, and how life itself is a riveting plot and deep mystery.”
—Elizabeth McCracken, New York Times bestselling author of Bowlaway and The Giant’s House

"Alice Elliott Dark is a writer I’ve long admired. With the splendid, engrossing Fellowship Point she has written a novel that is both sweeping and intimate as it deftly explores friendship, class, and the tricky nature of time."
—Meg Wolitzer, New York Times bestselling author of The Female Persuasion and The Interestings

“This is a virtuosic performance, indisputably a work of genius, but even fervent adjectives can’t capture the almost numinous effect of reading these pages. In Fellowship Point, one feels oneself in the rare presence of the truly sublime. Every exactingly described gesture, every bit of inspired characterization, every gorgeous sentence is run through an obsessive mind grappling indefatigably with the weightiest materials: the powerful gravity of enduring relationships and the psychic costs of managing them; the sometimes-crushing conflict between duty to self and responsibility to others; and the desperate urge to conserve a small corner of a stressed-out planet and defend a worthy way of life from extinction. The equal manner in which the past and present, like overlaid supersaturated transparencies, come so vividly to bloom in one book recalls the bottomless ambitions of the timeless greats—which is fitting, as Alice Elliott Dark is one of the best writers working in English today.”
—Matthew Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves

“I loved Fellowship Point so intensely and so tremendously, I’m struggling to find words that capture its brilliance. At once a rich, deeply felt investigation of female friendship and a bold novel of ideas, Fellowship Point offers the most profound pleasures. It reminded me of my favorite novels—those I return to, over and over—Great Expectations, Howards End, Middlemarch. I wanted to live inside it forever.”
Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year

“I've just sat up nearly all night finishing Alice Dark's Fellowship Point. Dark took over a decade to craft this magnificent novel, and the result is an instant classic: an epic tale of love, family, friendship, literature, and the American landscape, laid out on the capacious scale of a nineteenth-century classic, yet effortlessly contemporary in its voice. Tracing her story over decades and generations, Dark offers a portrayal of the complex inner worlds of three extraordinary women with an unerring insight that rivals that of Edith Wharton, or Elena Ferrante. Replete with humor, irony, gimlet-eyed observation of social mores, and a deep underlying spirituality, it's a novel so immersive you don't just read it, but practically move into it, like one of the rambling, shingled summer "cottages" that come to life in its pages. We readers emerge at the end with a deep nostalgia for the wind-battered pines, lingering ghosts, and imperiled eagles' nests of Dark's unforgettable Maine coast.”
Andrea Lee, author of Red Island House

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