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The Shipping News

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  110,405 Ratings  ·  4,141 Reviews
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, The Shipping News is a celebration of Annie Proulx's genius for storytelling and her vigorous contribution to the art of the novel.
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 l
Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published (first published 1993)
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Jac I just finished reading The Shipping News for the second time, and it is still amazing, still filled with surprises and the language continues to be…moreI just finished reading The Shipping News for the second time, and it is still amazing, still filled with surprises and the language continues to be rich and deeply evocative. One of the best books I've ever read, but it does require patience to get into...and certainly a penchant for knots.(less)
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Rating details
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Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book snuck up on me. Tricky tricky. It started out interesting enough. Proulx's writing style is mesmerizing, almost hypnotic. I found the book initially to be a relaxing solace on my commute home after a busy day of work, soley because of its use of language and setting. But I hated the characters. All of them. Quoyle, a big, damp loaf of a man, as Proulx describes him, is the definition of pathetic. His daughters are brats. And his wife Petal is a two-dimensional device created solely as ...more
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like with almost every other Pulitzer darling, we accompany the protagonist for the entire ride, & this one is exceptionally literary in that brave, EveryMan-type way. This: the prototype for the ever ambitious, ever elusive Great (semi)American Novel in which the elements of clever prose, revamped/revisited personal histories, of second chances and redemption, are outstandingly clear and pitched at full blast. Many novels read like this, and usually the one in that particular year earns its ...more
Nov 08, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My initial review of this book was simply "Bullllshiiit", but, um, perhaps more explanation is deserved. After a handful of people whose taste I respect raved about this book, I was looking forward to it, and got to page 180 or so before finally admitting "This feels like a chore" and giving it away (and I *rarely* leave books unfinished).

What got to me about this book was mainly Proulx's style was too...forced. Nothing that occured felt real or believed by the author herself (and it's not that
So far this is a great read, this book is a little gem. Had to get used to the language and the different way of storytelling, but this story, I love it so far!

Finished it today and what a great book to start 2010 with. I loved it!Loved the story, the characters, the description of the surroundings and the community, the way it is written, loved everything about it. It could have gone on forever for me. This is a feel good story, at least that's how I felt it. It was on my night desk next to th
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: Steve aka Sckenda
Shelves: top, prize-winners, i-said
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.


Much like that coil of rope, our protagonist, Quoyle, has also been stepped on all his life. A great damp loaf of a body. At six he weighed eighty pounds. At sixteen he was buried under a casement of flesh. Head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair ruched back. Features as bunched as kissed fingertips. Eyes the color of plastic. Th
This is my first Proulx, so I didn't know if the unusual writing style is typical, or specially chosen for this particular story. I hope it's the latter, as it works very well.

Update: I've now read the collection, Close Range: Brokeback Mountain and Other stories, which I reviewed HERE. Those stories use similar language, but somewhat toned down.

It covers a couple of years (plus some backstory) in the life of thirty-something Quoyle: a big, lonely, awkward and unattractive man, always having or
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah the Shipping News. I remember my heart dropping when I read this book the first time. I thought, "If this is what people are writing, I am no writer."

This book is revolutionary in it's use of language. She punctuates inventively and her punctuation "style" gives her sentences a strange movement. The book moves, it actually moves, as you read it.

There are moments of such pain like when Quoyle lies still in his bed as Petal Bear fucks another man in their home--and it's not written in a way wh
May 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
You know you're in trouble when you pan a Pulitzer prize winner, but pan I must. This book bored me to tears. Perpetual motion and its status as "currently reading" on Goodreads together got me through it. I didn't care what happened to whom or how it would end, I just wanted it over. Amazing the things that passed for excitement and were given excessive air time in this novel: an incredibly detailed rendition of the kids' Christmas pageant; knitting; the uneventful daily commute and various mos ...more
Steven  Godin
Thankfully negative reviews are somewhat of a rare commodity for me. In the case of The Shipping News, it's difficult to find any positives, simply down to Proulx's writing style which I never could grasp hold of, along with dialogue that annoyed the hell out of me. The star of the show if there was to be one, is Newfoundland itself, the characters I struggled to feel anything for, even in the more moving moments, I am still left though with a mixed reaction. I wondered what Proulx had against r ...more
Nice novel in which it appears that to some extent you can overcome your past.

It's also a nicely constructed piece with this quiet core surrounded by these wild events (the apparent sale of the daughters, the past sexual abuse, the horrors of the ancient ancestors, the murder). However wild the events, crashing and buffeting against the rocky coast it is the quietness that predominates and wins out.

It is the kind of novel that wins prizes, because it is healing book, the past here is full of hor
Annie Proulx exploded onto the literary scene with the publication of her second novel, The Shipping News. It was 1993 and she was 58. No victim of sophomore jinx, The Shipping News gave Annie a double boost: it won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer prize for Fiction - one of just six books picked by both juries, and has subsequently been adapted into a film.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in a mix of small upstate towns, Quoyle is definitely not having the time of his life. Socially ine
Jim Fonseca
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A love story of a single father, a newspaper reporter, who returns to Newfoundland to live in an ancestral home and meets a local woman. Everyone in the present is haunted in some way by the victims in the past claimed by nature, usually by the sea. The plot revolves around ordinary characters --- ordinary, quirky Newfies, that is. They are overweight or pock-marked or not quite attractive, in that left-behind kind of way, and they are all damaged in some way, usually by the loss of loved ones t ...more
National Book Award--1993
Pulitzer Prize--1994

Many of today's "modern writers" have styles so similar, or maybe a better way to say it, their lack of style makes it hard to distinguish their differences. But there are a few out there that have very distinct writing styles that set them apart, that give them a unique and recognizable identity. Annie Proulx is one of those. Margaret Atwood, Dorothy Allison, and Markus Zusak also come to mind for me.

I've often wondered about Newfoundland, what it's
Deborah Ideiosepius
Oct 27, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deborah by: Mattie
Shelves: travestys, fiction
This was a review in progress I can see as I wade through the bog of this book;

1. (October 28) A deeply uninteresting, unlikeable boy grows up to be a deeply uninteresting, unlikable man. He marries a nasty piece of work (who is also deeply unlikable) and spits out two children that are exactly the children one goes out of one’s way to avoid at shopping centres.

Parents die, wife dies, aunt shows up out of nowhere and whisks the whole aimless uninteresting lot of them off to a dreary remote end-o
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star, 2017, awards
Picked this book for my award winners challenge and solely for this challenge I came to know about this book. I am glad that I put these challenges for me and because of them I am reading all these different books. Some proved to be disaster, others just made me fall in love with themselves. This book is somewhere in between. Neither I hated nor I loved it.

The Shipping News revolve around Quoyle who had a tough childhood and equally tough twenties. After the death of his wife he moved back to Ne
The blurb:
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. A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of t
Jul 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the very best novels I've had the chance to read. It's not just that the story is rich in and of itself - and it is - it's that the words themselves are so artfully assembed that they provide layers of undercurrents that add depth and emotion to the narrative. This book reads like a symphony, with many intertwined themes and narratives all woven together into a whole, unified picture.

Proulx writes in choppy short sentecnes. It's akward and clumsy language viewed against the litte
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At thirty-six, bereft, brimming with grief and thwarted love, Quoyle steered away to Newfoundland, the rock that had generated his ancestors, a place he had never been nor thought to go."

Quoyle lives the life of a sad cliche. His family doesn't like him, his wife has affairs and he's socially awkward. His only thought is for his children, Bunny and Sunshine. When a situation causes them to move from Mockingburg, New York to Newfoundland, Canada, home of Quoyle's ancestors, he finds himself in ov
This is by E. Annie Proulx, so all the characters are named things like "Tobogganlips McCupboardcake" and everyone endures a series of darkly humorous, preciously rendered misfortunes. Though the movie was nothing to write home about either, I actually liked it better than the book, for the enjoyable scenery, half-decent performances, and dearth of skull-shatteringly dippy prose.

It's not like it's the worst thing I've ever read, and I never entertained the thought of quitting mid-book with any
April West
Jun 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gets me every time. It has some of the most brilliant writing I've ever encountered, and I am amazed by the way the characters develop and draw me in. At the beginning of the book, the main character is hit by tragedy so many times in rapid succession that it actually seems funny in a way. Bam! parents dead! Bam! wife run off! Bam! children stolen! Bam! wife dead! And all of this happening to such a lumpen hulking dolt of a man that it is hard to feel any real sympathy, just a dazed an ...more
Jul 05, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
By my calculation, Annie Proulx owes me close to $20, and several unrecoverable hours of my life. Not only did I buy and read this wretched book, but - inexplicably - I forked out another $7 to go see the equally wretched movie. I suppose I have only myself to blame for the latter exercise in misjudgement, given that I knew in advance how appallingly bleak the book was, and that it involved the wretchedly vile Kevin Spacey.


OK, so Annie P. achieves partial redemption through having writte
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Such a dreary story with uninteresting characters in a drab setting. It just wasn't for me.
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Pulitzer, National Book Awards 1993
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, drama
One of the books whose middle part could bore you to death but when you finish it, you would like to go back and read again. I brought this book when I went to San Diego, CA in January 2017 to visit my mother for her 81st birthday. Even though I read nothing except this for the 16-hour flights (total of 32 hours plus stopovers and waiting) and during my 10-day stay in her senior's apartment where there was no wi-fi, I went back with an unfinished book. I have this habit of finishing what I start ...more
Jun 18, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Won the Pulitzer in ’94, and rightly so – it’s a bleak, stark novel set in a bleak, stark place – Newfoundland – with enough hope and redemption to be realistic without being syrupy. Quoyle is a large mound of a loser human who has been a loser, and abused for it, all his life. After his nymphomaniac whore of a wife is killed in a car crash after selling their two kids, Bunny and Sunshine, to a kiddie pornographer, he starts over again by being dragged off to his ancestral home in Newfoundland w ...more
The fact that a novel is a Pulitzer Prize Winner For Fiction equates one of the following: A) A book I have to admit I am reading only because it is an award winning, highly lauded title, probably something about "The American Dream"... B) An amazing exception, covering themes integral to our times, so beautifully written that, at once, it is on my all time favorites lists.

Not to be anticlimactic, but this was in the former category. Although it did have its notable merits.

Quoyle. Our hero. Al
Bill Khaemba
“We face up to awful things because we can't go around them, or forget them. The sooner you say 'Yes, it happened, and there's nothing I can do about it,' the sooner you can get on with your own life. You've got children to bring up. So you've got to get over it. What we have to get over, somehow we do. Even the worst things.”

I was feeling a bit slumpy before I started this book and when I opened the first page, I was hooked. The passages were beautiful, the way the author pulled you in wit
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is a story about Quoyle. Quoyle is a man that does not think that much of himself and he thinks people do not think that much of him. He thinks he's stupid, that he always does the wrong thing, that he deserves whatever waste is thrown at him. He goes through life like a welcome home mat.

What I love about the story is Quoyle lets the actions of others define who he is, but he is absolutely nothing like the characters whose opinions he allows to define him. And he never realizes it, which is
Jennifer Jensen (Literally Jen)
The Shipping News has won multiple awards, so lots of people highly regard this book. I, however, did not. It started out interestingly enough, but I quickly wanted to move on to something else. Any excuse I could find not to read this book, I'd take it.

Had it not been for the fact this was a book club assignment, there is absolutely no way I would have finished this book. I did not care for the writing style. The short, stunted sentences often caused me to stumble and I would lose my concentrat
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short time to get used to the unusual, staccato writing style, but then BAM took the bait and I was hooked but good.If you love words and language you must read this book. If you appreciate fully fleshed characters you'll come to know and care about, read this book. If you want to be transported to a new place, the isolated coast of Newfoundland, read this... well you get the idea. I've had this in my TBR list a while now, and think I was somewhat put off my the title. A well deserved Pulitzer ...more
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Also published as E. Annie Proulx
Edna Annie Proulx is an American journalist and author. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for fiction in 1994. Her short story "Brokeback Mountain" was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005. Brokeback Mountain received massive c
More about Annie Proulx...
“We face up to awful things because we can't go around them, or forget them. The sooner you say 'Yes, it happened, and there's nothing I can do about it,' the sooner you can get on with your own life. You've got children to bring up. So you've got to get over it. What we have to get over, somehow we do. Even the worst things.” 117 likes
“And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.” 90 likes
More quotes…