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The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

The Shipping News (original 1993; edition 1994)

by E. Annie Proulx, Mary Bess Engel (Cover designer), David Blackwood (Cover artist)

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10,215184281 (3.86)408
Recently added bylucyknows, cambridgecenter, SherrieB, meaghyn, private library, peterpetcarp, AFBRA, TSSpivet
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    We, the Drowned by Carsten Jensen (Jannes)
    Jannes: Proulx focuses on one particular and personal fate, Jensen writes about a whole town in the voice of a vague, collective "we". The former places her story in modern-day Newfoundland, the later in 19th and early 20th century Denmark. What they have in common is the ever-present sea, its influence and demands, and how the people that relies on if for sustenance has learned to accept its whims and live with the consequences of a life at sea.… (more)
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» See also 408 mentions

English (173)  Dutch (4)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (181)
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
I was in a period of transition and uncertainty; what to do with my life? I lived in San Diego, had a 15-month old baby. I read this book on my mother's sofa. One line in the book resonated with me--I can barely remember it now, something about how we will always return to our home, the place of our birth. Something like that. I was on the computer a minute later, checking out flights to my hometown in NY. When the family wakes up to their morning routine, I announce that I am moving to NY, and I'm leaving in 9 days. And I did!

I finished the novel, but none of it mattered as much as that one sentence....

Thank you Annie Proulx! I found my life back home, just as the characters in this novel did. ( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
An interesting theme of ropes and knot tying pervades the story. Quoyle, an awkward lumpish man marries the mercurial Petal and has two children with Her. She cheats on him repeatedly. After selling the children to a pornographer she is killed in a car accident. Meanwhile Quoyle's parents die. He links up with an aunt he doesn't really know and they moved to Newfoundland. They move into the ancestral home. He takes a job with the local newspaper. The story from their involves all the local characters in the small town which is dominated by the fishing industry now in decline.
The story starts very slowly with way too much florid descriptive terms, a lot of words I think were just made up or culled from AP English lists. I find that distracting and it was a slow start to the book. However by page 101 gets involved in the story and the characters. Either the writing gets better or the story gets engaging enough to keep one's attention. The ultimate theme of what constitutes love is worth reading to the end. By the end one can see why this won the Pulitzer Prize. ( )
  satterthwaite | Jul 27, 2015 |
This is one of those novels I'll need to process for a bit before I'm really certain what I think of it. It rides that familiar line between tongue-in-cheek strangeness (the protagonist's children named "Sunshine" and "Bunny;" the blue-eyed murderess with her Nazi-built yacht) and emotional poignancy, particularly in dealing with the novel's themes of loss and familial duty. Most of the momentum has to do with the characters' relationships to themselves and each other, rather than "plot stuff happening," but everyone ends the book on very different footing than they started, which is satisfying. ( )
  okrysmastree | Feb 16, 2015 |
When Quoyle's awful wife is killed in a car accident, he makes a sudden decision to move from New York to Newfoundland with his aunt and two young daughters. Working at a small town newspaper, Quoyle becomes immersed in the oddities of life on the Rock and the idiosyncracies of the people who call it home.

This book was a rough start for me. The writing style did not pull me in at all as Proulx writes the novel of Quoyle's life using the sentence structure that makes up newspaper articles. Streams of short sentences interspersed with endless lists. And Quoyle himself was a protagonist that it took ages to warm to. But in the end the book dug into me and held on; caught me with sad and funny anecdotes of the characters that make up the small town in Newfoundland that Proulx creates. A slower read that could easily be dipped in and out of, it may leave deeper impressions in my memory than I would have originally anticipated. ( )
  MickyFine | Feb 11, 2015 |
The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx is a book I had never heard of until I started my Bucket List project. However, everyone I talked to about it seems to have read it. It reaffirms the necessity of my taking on this reading project. As with the other works of fiction I have read recently I am not going to go into a whole lot of detail as there may be a very few of you that has not read it.

After a rough start I ended up really enjoying this book quite a bit.

The main problem I had at the beginning was the writing style. A lot of short clipped sentences with no transition between them caught me off guard at first. In some cases years in the life of the main character – Quoyle – are related in less than 20 words. However as I read more I found myself getting used to it, and by the end really enjoying how it made the story flow.

In the end this is a lovely story of a man, generally a failure, who finds himself and his niche in life by moving to Newfoundland – the ancestral home of his family. There he finds his place in life among a series of very quirkly and eclectic set of people.

The author stated in an interview the inspiration for this work was a book about knots…specicially knots used by those whose livelihood is based on the sea. Most chapters start with a brief description of a knot and its purpose; that description becomes the theme for what happens to the characters during its course. A very cool way to tell the story of the main character – Quoyle – whose name is a form of the word coil; an integral part of all of the knots described in the book.

If it sounds on the surface this book is free from the kind of tragedy and depravity that is endemic to our species fear not…it is there. Murder, rape, accidental death, crime and punishment are all a part of the story. Yet, by the end I think you will find yoruself uplifted.

Highly Recommended!!

( )
  mybucketlistofbooks | Jan 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 173 (next | show all)
It has been – astonishingly – fifteen years since I read the novel but its memory is undimmed, its glorious set pieces still vivid before my eyes.
In E. Annie Proulx's vigorous, quirky novel "The Shipping News," set in present-day Newfoundland, there are indeed a lot of drownings. The main characters are plagued by dangerous undercurrents, both in the physical world and in their own minds. But the local color, ribaldry and uncanny sorts of redemption of Ms. Proulx's third book of fiction keep the reader from slipping under, into the murk of loss.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Proulx, E. Annieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alopaeus, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"In a knot of eight crossings, which is about the average-size knit. there are 256 different 'over-and-under' arrangements possible. . . Make only one change in this 'over and under' sequence and either an entirely different knot is made or no knot at all may result."

Quoyle: A coil of rope

"A Flemish flake is a spiral coil of one layer only. It is made on deck so that it may be walked on if necessary."

In the old days a love-sick sailor might send the object of his affections a length of fishline loosely tied in a true-lover's knot. If the knot as sent back as it came the relationship was static. If the knot returned home snugly drawn up the passion was reciprocated. But if the knot was capsized - tacit advice to ship out.
"The strangle knot will hold a coil well . . . It is first tied loosely and then worked snug."

"Cast Away, to be forced from a ship by a disaster."

For Jon, Gillis and Morgan
First words
Here is an account of a few years in the life of Quoyle, born in Brooklyn and raised in a shuffle of dreary upstate towns.
Walking keeps you smart.
fried bologna isn't bad.
Desire reversed to detestation like a rubber glove turned inside out.
We run a car wreck photo every week, whether we have a car wreck or not. That's our golden rule.
In Wyoming they name girls Skye, in Newfoundland it's Wavey.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
From the get-go, Quoyle is a loser. Not only is he physically unattractive with a "great damp loaf of a body," but he is also not too bright. His father despises him, and his brother, constantly taunts him. He drifts from job to job, never able to keep one for more than a few months. He gets married, only to have his wife sell their two daughters to a child pornographer and leave him. The Shipping News describes Quoyle's psychological and spiritual rebirth. Left with two children to raise after he rescues them, and no job, he returns to Newfoundland, the land of his ancestors. A sometime newspaper reporter, he gets a job reporting on shipping news with a local publication, and becomes a minor celebrity. Gradually he is transformed into a loving father and a valued neighbor.

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.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671510053, Paperback)

In this touching and atmospheric novel set among the fishermen of Newfoundland, Proulx tells the story of Quoyle. From all outward appearances, Quoyle has gone through his first 36 years on earth as a big schlump of a loser. He's not attractive, he's not brilliant or witty or talented, and he's not the kind of person who typically assumes the central position in a novel. But Proulx creates a simple and compelling tale of Quoyle's psychological and spiritual growth. Along the way, we get to look in on the maritime beauty of what is probably a disappearing way of life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:45 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Quoyle returns to his family's longtime home, a small fishing town in Newfoundland with his young daughter. Though Quoyle has had little success thus far in life, his shipping news column in the local newspaper finds an audience, and his experiences in the town begin to change his life.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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