Sunday, April 22, 2007

'The Shipping News'

by Annie Proulx

Fiction. Copyright, 1993
Scribner paperback, 355 p.
WINNER of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1994; WINNER of the National Book Award for Fiction 1993

(Book #13 for 2007; Book #3 for the TBR Challenge)
When Quoyle’s two-timing wife meets her just deserts, he retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters and family members all play a part in Quoyle’s struggle to reclaim his life. As Quoyle confronts his private demons – and the unpredictable forces of nature and society – he begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery.
I had a hard time getting used to her style of writing at first (also why I never made a note of any quotes as none seemed to stand out), but wanting to continue reading about Quoyle and all the others pulled me along. The only other book by Proulx I’ve read is Close Range: Wyoming Stories, but based on these two, she sure likes quirky offbeat characters and small towns. Set primarily in Newfoundland, the main character of the story is certainly Newfoundland itself with its harsh climate and the difficult lifestyle it demands. Due to that it was wonderfully atmospheric yet surprisingly humourous at times, in a dark humour sort of way. I’m glad I finally got around to reading it, thanks to the TBR Challenge. It was worth the read.

My Rating: 3.5/5


  1. I haven't read any of her stuff yet, but this one is in my TBR pile. Thanks for the review.

  2. I've wanted to get 'round to this one since I read Close Range. Glad you liked it. I've heard a mixed bag of opinions, but I think I'll enjoy it.

  3. I tried to read this several years ago, but couldn't get past her style and gave up rather quickly. Then, only just recently, I watched the film and thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe now I can make it through the novel.

  4. Kookiejar,
    I'm not crazy about her writing style, but I did enjoy the story. I've got a couple more here by her that I'll get to someday.

    I liked it better than Close Range. I did really enjoy the Newfoundland setting.

    I just finally watched the film and enjoyed it too. I think it captured the main atmosphere of the book so maybe you'll have better luck if you try again.

  5. The plot of this book sounded interesting to me, but like some other commenters have said, I couldn't get past the writing style. I gave up after a few chapters. I think I might like it more as a movie. (It's not often that I say that!)

  6. Mercy's Maid,
    Thanks for stopping by. I'd definitely recommend the movie. I'm glad I read it but I agree that her writing style takes some getting used to.

  7. Being a Newfie myself, I'm biased, but I loved this book. And the movie is a worthy adaptation, so if you can't get past the writing style (I don't remember it bothering me, but I've seen that comment a lot), then the film is a good substitute. Have to say though, that I don't have any interest in reading any of her other stuff.

  8. Lesley,
    I didn't realize you were a Newfie, or else I forgot (also highly probably). I've never been but after reading the book and seeing the film, I'd love to visit.
    I have a couple more of her books in my stacks that I got very very cheaply so someday I'll try again.


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