The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx


Published: 1993

Genre: fiction

Length: 337 pages

Setting: mostly Killick-Claw, Newfoundland, and it’s environs, present day when it was published

Interest: It won a Pulitzer Prize and fulfills a letter in my author reading challenge – a two for one book!

Summary: Quoyle is a bit of a loser – he’s hopelessly in love with Sunshine, his wife who sleeps around whenever she gets a chance, and works on and off at the local newspaper. When Sunshine and his parents die and his only friend moves away in quick succession, there’s nothing keeping him in Mockingburg, NY. His aunt persuades him to move back to the family home in Quoyle’s Point, Newfoundland, with his two daughters. Turns out, the home hasn’t been lived in in decades and is falling apart, but they still try to make a go of it. Quoyle gets a job at the local newspaper. He’s assigned car wrecks and shipping news. Turns out, he’s pretty good at writing little articles about the ships that are in port. Quoyle quickly becomes part of the local life – going fishing, building a boat, and even courting a local widow. His girls also make friends, and Quoyle starts to become much more confident and successful in his new home than he ever was in Mockingburg.

Final thoughts: I really grew to like this book. In the beginning of the book, Quoyle is such a loser. He knows he’s failing at everything but can’t manage to improve his life. I really found him annoying. However, once he gets to Newfoundland, the story got much more interesting. I loved the setting and the feel of a small-town, fishing community. Quoyle also starts to make improvements in his life and be less whiny. I ended up rooting for him to get the girl and the job at the newspaper.

Title comes from: One of Quoyle’s first assignments when he got to Killick-Claw (across the bay from Quoyle’s Point) was to get the shipping news for what ships were in port for the local paper.

Awards won: Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1994 and the National Book Award for fiction in 1993

Reading challenges fulfilled: 89/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge, an X in my A-Z Reading Challenge author challenge (17/26), and 13/12 in the Award Winning Book Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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2 Comments

Filed under Book review

2 responses to “The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

  1. Maybe I should give this book another try. I couldn’t get into it a number of years ago and felt guilty for not liking a Pulitzer winner! I did like the film, however.

    • natalieinne

      It’s definitely one that takes a while before it gets good. Don’t feel guilty about not liking it, though. Just because it’s won an award doesn’t mean it fits your personal taste. I just figure an award winner has a higher chance of being good writing at least compared to a random book off the shelf.

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