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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)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,514194271 (3.86)440
  1. 10
    The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald (rieja)
  2. 00
    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)
  3. 00
    Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald (rieja)
  4. 00
    The Custodian of Paradise by Wayne Johnston (sushidog)
  5. 22
    A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby (sombrio)
  6. 00
    The Republic of Nothing by Lesley Choyce (ShelfMonkey)
  7. 01
    Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion? by Johan Harstad (Othemts)

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» See also 440 mentions

English (185)  Dutch (4)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  German (1)  All languages (193)
Showing 1-5 of 185 (next | show all)
The chronicle of an eccentric below-average protagonist beginning his new life and realising his capabilities in the remote, seafaring community of his ancestry, the novel effectively evokes the salty, ongoing-seasprayed Newfoundland seaside - its treacherous rocks and diminishing livelihoods - with its cast of quirky characters and clipped, sparse prose.

The story really only starts about four chapters in, after setting up the unsympathetic Petal for death, her cruelty may have been overdone just so that it can be quickly brushed aside and the extent to which Quoyle is browbeaten in every aspect of his life, by his wife, his colleagues, his children. The necessity of it detracts from the main story but is nevertheless satisfying as we see Quoyle adapt to and succeed - to a certain extent - in a life where sailing to work is faster than driving, where it's imperative to memorise the rock formation beneath the crashing, frothing waters, where losing men to the sea is an everyday occurrence and a part of the island's history - a tradition almost, if you will -, where the weather is ostensibly a character of its own, influential and unrelenting.

Even though their quirkiness prevents a certain attachment to the characters themselves, the economical prose seemingly easily whips up the breadth and scope of the humanity and the volatile elements, eliciting pathos in the hardships and history of the Newfoundland life. The most surprising bit of the book which had me laughing and laughing is probably that of Jack's resurrection which I thought was a relatively new scientific realisation. A feel-good novel in the way of Forrest Gump with beautiful prose, to read on a cold and cloudy day by the seaside.

Aside: are the names of the characters typical of Newfoundland inhabitants? ( )
  kitzyl | Apr 2, 2016 |
This was one of those books that sat on the shelf for a long time, but was such a fantastic read - you wonder why it sat there for so long. It was an incredible book, with lovely almost poetic writing and excellent, well developed characters.

There was so much to this book I enjoyed, it's hard to know where to start. The writing was wonderful, I am looking forward to getting my hands on another book by the author. It was poetic, lyrical at times and it really captured the atmosphere and life in Newfoundland and the mood of the characters. It was a book that was hard to put down, because the writing drew you into the story.

As for the characters, while I don't have that one favourite character I could say I fell in love with, I did enjoy Quoyle. He was a bit of a wreck at times, a bit lost on how to live his life, but his journey and development was fleshed out and realistic. The story of Quoyle was slow but a good and engaging slow. I liked that the author took her time to explore his and the other characters stories and development - it made for a wonderful read.

There were a few minor things here and there I didn't like but overall I enjoyed the book a lot - it's a book that is well worth reading - and one well worth reading right away - especially over a weekend, instead of leaving it on the shelf for years. Excellent book overall.

Also found on my book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - The Shipping News ( )
  bookwormjules | Apr 2, 2016 |
Excellent, beautiful, lyrical writing, phenomenal story. In the book's first two chapters, Quoyle, the main character, a big man with an even bigger jaw, has met, fallen in love and had two children (Bunny and Sunshine) with, and lost to a Jayne Mansfield-esque carwreck, his philandering spouse, Petal. That's a lot of drama to pack into two little chapters! But Annie P. packs even more drama and humor and delightful New Foundland geography into the book's remaining chapters. I'm very happy I read this. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
Pulitzer prize for fiction

I don't think I would ever have chosen this book for myself, so I'm really glad that my book club did. The first half is so bleak - Quoyle's life is so tiring. I quote from the end of Chapter 17 "Thirty-six years old and this was the first time anyone ever said he'd done it right." The story climbs from there. And while Quoyle never soars he does experience some highs and a lot of good even sailing. Definitely worth reading. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 9, 2016 |
good outcast going back w/ 2 young daughters to Newfoundland — finds his place/feels good about himself — love can occur sometimes w/out pain or misery.

When Quoyle's two-timing wife meets her just desserts, 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
  christinejoseph | Feb 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 185 (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.

» Add other authors (11 possible)

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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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)

» see all 12 descriptions

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