Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, with a "head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair...features as bunched as kissed fingertips," is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just deserts. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. Here, on desolate Quoyle's Point, in a house empty except for a few mementos of the family's unsavory past, the battered members of three generations try to cobble up new lives.
Newfoundland is a country of coast and cove where the mercury rarely rises above 70 degrees, the local culinary delicacy is cod cheeks, and it's easier to travel by boat and snowmobile than on anything with wheels. In this harsh place of cruel storms, a collapsing fishery, and chronic unemployment, the aunt sets up as a yacht upholsterer in nearby Killick-Claw, and Quoyle finds a job reporting the shipping news for the local weekly, the Gammy Bird (a paper that specializes in sexual-abuse stories and grisly photos of car accidents).
As the long winter closes its jaws of ice, each of the Quoyles confronts private demons, reels from catastrophe to minor triumph -- in the company of the obsequious Mavis Bangs; Diddy Shovel the strongman; drowned Herald Prowse; cane-twirling Beety; Nutbeem, who steals foreign news from the radio; a demented cousin the aunt refuses to recognize; the much-zippered Alvin Yark; silent Wavey; and old Billy Pretty, with his bag of secrets. By the time of the spring storms Quoyle has learned how to gut cod, to escape from a pickle jar, and to tie a true lover's knot.
The writing was first class. I did at times want a little more action, but it was a pleasure to read. The images of Newfoundland were lyrically created and I believed the characters and all their foibles. A book to remember although not always easy to read as the story did move very slowly....Continua
What is most compelling about The Shipping News and what really struck a chord for me when reading the novel is the unusual stylistic approach Proulx adopts when including in her narrative difficult topics such as incest, infidelity, and abuse.
Notoriously hard issues to write about, yet she does it with a pragmatic and humorous tone. She maintains throughout that the characters are not, and will never be, victims – they refuse to be destroyed or defined by what happened to them. Instead they live, learn and make the best of their tragic situations...
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The Never-Ending Library is run by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd employees about the HarperCollins Publishers Ltd books that we have read and love....Continua
It's the third time I write this review...
It's a beautiful book!
Now I'm through with reviews.
I find this book very very hard to review, as I found it so relaxing, so "real", so familiar that it would be like talking about a family member, someone you maybe don't meet too often but you can always feel comfortable with, somebody you can always count upon....Continua