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The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
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Apr 28, 12

bookshelves: classics, grades-9-and-up
Read in April, 2012

As close to James Joyce as any non-Joyce fiction I’ve read. That’s not an absolute positive. Here’s a few of the many words that left me confused: roky, jabot, chine, strigil, crenshaw, gansey. And that doesn’t count all the nautical terms I tried to contextualize. The Newfoundland coast is all rock and wrack and bitter wet freeze. The sea breaks against a sky that churns through analogies of every shade but blue.

The grammatical navigation can be frustrating, but there’s an impressive story in all this language. Quoyle is a huge misshapen teddy bear of a man. His columns for the local newspaper are a joy to read, he shares a wondrous love for his children, and maintains an admirable desire to keep pushing forward, even in the face of life’s most brutal storms.

To see him rise up like warm bread from his defeated past is a pleasant celebration. And for those who appreciate Proulx’s literary bazaar, this may be a near-perfect book.
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