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The Shipping News [Paperback] Unknown Binding – January 1, 1994


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Unknown Binding, January 1, 1994
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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company (1994)
  • ASIN: B002VK7GZE
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,772 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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"The great storm took the house apart nail by nail."
Michael Oborn
I often read passages aloud to my husband who also appreciated Ms. Proulx's literary skills.
Ruthie
A wonderful, life-affirming touch in a very lively novel.
James M. Baird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Justin Woods on June 28, 2014
Ms. Annie Proulx's ship came in with this literary gem. I picked this up from my school's library and two years later after a half read and then a complete re-read I finished it. It took a second read through for me to get this raw and crisp storyline. Once I figured it out I was well on my way to enjoying this sea struggling tale. There are lines in this book that knock you on your literary tail....Knockout blows that force you to stop and re-read for the full effect....Quoyle and Annie get thers!
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I gave this early novel by Annie Proulx to a friend who had not read and of my favorite author's work. My friend enjoyed a Shipping News, in part because it reminded her of her childhood in New England . Of all of Proulx's excellent novels I think Shipping News is a standout. I have since given my friend a copy of Postcards, another early Proulx novel, set in Vermont. I recommend all of Annie Proulx's extensive list of novels to everyone and Shipping News is a great place to start.
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There's a lot of good things I could say about this book: the sense of a seaside hamlet community, which the author conveys in layers, as she presents everything else; the changing seasons (and living through them); the changing world, for the worse, mainly, but the resilience of those who adapt to it; the exotic and often dangerous realities, in a wild but at the same time amenable place. But above all I was taken by her portrait of the novel's characters, a piece at a time, with each given his or her due.

An excellent book.
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The Shipping News is a slow read, meant to be read slowly. The author has a unique writing style that is incredibly poetic, and I found myself savoring her passages, much like the Newfoundlanders savored their hot tea. I also read slowly because, while I very much enjoyed her chapter prefaces from The Ashley Book of Knots, I struggled with many of the boating references in the text itself. While I am consistently disappointed with movie adaptations of books I've enjoyed, I plan to rent this one for the visuals of the beauty of eastern Canada.

The book was first copyrighted twenty years ago, but I was struck by the timeliness of some of her themes: overfishing, offshore oil rigs, seal clubbing. I wish, two decades hence, these issues would have dated the story, but sadly they remain.

This Pulitzer Prize winning story is not for everybody. It is not, I suspect, even for some readers at certain times in their lives. I can think back on times when I may have set it aside for other lighter reads. Having said that, if the time is right and the reader is ready, it is an excellent work of fiction.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Diane on May 15, 2013
The three stars are for the amazing descriptions that burst across the page from all directions, painting new pictures, layering new images on top of old ones, bringing Newfoundland to some kind of life. However, by the end of the novel, I was hunting around for words to describe it as a whole, and I could only think of bleak, cold and grey. Interlaced with the greyness were countless descriptions of unappetizing food: turkey soup in which a stringy neck vein floated, squid burgers, pallid clumps of scallops, stewed cod in a lunch box... descriptions that more than often turned my stomach. Most of the characters were also grey, or perhaps it was that the environment in which they lived was stronger than they were, and, consequently, they appeared greyer than they actually were. I did not come close to any of the characters with the exception, perhaps, of Quoyle's daughter Bunny.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ruthie on October 8, 2012
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The Shipping News opened a window into an area of the world unknown to me. A very satisfying read. So many clever expressions of thought. I often read passages aloud to my husband who also appreciated Ms. Proulx's literary skills. The story tells of blossoming from a bumbling, misplaced schlub into a confident, respected man set against challenges of nature and society. I definitely recommend this book to one and all.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Natalie E. Ramm on February 3, 2012
In true Proulx form, this novel is mostly set in the extremely isolated and frigid Canadian province of Newfoundland. The novel is about this guy named Quoyle. On top of his wretched name, poor thing, he's abnormally tall, overweight, and not too pleasant to look at. He has the misfortune of falling deeply in love with and marrying a loose lady who doesn't give a (insert foul language here) about him or their two children. Thankfully, she dies in agruesome way-sorry, to divulge that. All in all, it's about how Quoyle tries to find independence from the haunting memory of his wife, a job he likes and can hold onto, friends, reciprocal love, and a new life for his two little girls. Of all places, why he picks Newfoundland beats me.

The epigraphs are usually excerpts from The Ashley Book of Knots. The first chapter begins by defining the word "quoyle" as "a coil of rope." This clearly symbolizes Quoyle's complex life that he attempts to uncoil throughout the novel. Proulx goes on to quote The Ashley Book, which says this coil "may be walked on if necessary." This is Quoyle in a nutshell: complexly tangled in every aspect of life and also a doormat.

The Shipping News is darkly humorous, witty, and lyrical (but I found the plot to be lacking a bit). The ending is somewhat uplifting, which is not necessarily true of Close Range (I'm not sure if that's a good comparison though, because Close Range is a collection of short stories). The novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 and the National Book Award in 1993. It also apparently won the Irish Time International Fiction Prize in 1993, but that's not nearly as important.
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