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The Shipping News
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Previous Reads: Group Reads > The Shipping News, Annie Proulx

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message 1: by Louise, Group Founder (new)

Louise | 680 comments Mod
This is the thread for discussing our October group read. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx.

The Shipping News
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 the contemporary North American family, The Shipping News shows why Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.

Annie Proulx (Wikipedia summary)
Edna Ann Proulx (born August 22, 1935) is an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. She won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her first novel, Postcards. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was adapted as a 2001 film of the same name. Her short story Brokeback Mountain was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005.


Elizabeth (Alaska) I read this too many years ago to discuss, but I did rate it 5-stars. It was my first by Proulx, and I continue to look for places to fit her in.


message 3: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Flood (goodreadscomdanielleflood) | 4 comments I will comment soon, but first I must say that this summary above is inaccurate in that Quoyle didn't have two daughters. He had one. Or am I going out of my mind?


Elizabeth (Alaska) Danielle wrote: "I will comment soon, but first I must say that this summary above is inaccurate in that Quoyle didn't have two daughters. He had one. Or am I going out of my mind?"

I find this in a GR review.

Characters:

Quoyle: He is 36, and the protagonist of the story. A newspaper reporter, born in Brooklyn, NY. He moves to Newfoundland after the death of a parent when he learns he has inherited a house there.
Partridge: Friend of Quoyle in Mockingburg, NY.
Mercalia: Partridge's wife.
Petal Bear: Quoyle's promiscuous wife.
Bunny: She is 6, Quoyle's older daughter.
Sunshine: She is 4-1/2, Quoyle's younger daughter.
Mrs. Moosup: The Quoyle's baby-sitter.
Agnis Hamm, "Aunt": Quoyle's paternal aunt.
Irene Warren: The Aunt's dog.
Tert Card: Managing editor of The Gammy Bird.
B. Beaufield Nutbeem: Newspaperman at The Gammy Bird. Foreign, provincial and national newswriter. A Brit.
Billy Pretty: Is in his 70s, newsman at The Gammy Bird. Writes the Home News page in the paper in Newfoundland where Quoyle gets a job.
Jack Buggit: Owner of "The Gammy Bird" newspaper. Quoyle's boss.
Diddy Shovel: Harbormaster of Killeck-Claw, from whom Quoyle gets the shipping news.
Dennis Buggit: Jack Buggit 's youngest son; a carpenter. Friend of Quoyle.
Beety Buggit: Dennis's wife, Jack's daughter in law, and father of Marty, Bunny's best friend.
Alvin Yark: A boat builder in Nunny Bag Cove.
Wavey Prowse: A young widow; mother of Herry.
Herry Prowse: Wavey's son; a special needs child who has Down's Syndrome.
Baronet Melville: Owner of Tough Baby, a Dutch Botterjacht, "Hitler's Yacht."
Silver Melville: Wife of Baronet Melville.
Mavis Bangs: Older assistant in the upholstery business Aunt opens in Killick-Claw.
Dawn Budgel: She is 26, Aunt's second assistant in the upholstery business.
Skipper Will: Greasy spoon restaurant owner.
Ken: A fisherman; Wavey's brother.
Marty Buggit: Dennis and Beety's daughter. Bunny's best friend.
Herold Prowse: Wavey's deceased husband.
Mrs. Buggit: Jack Buggit's wife.
Nolan Quoyle: An old man, fourth degree Quoyle cousin. A recluse and insane.
Benny Fudge: One of the newspaper employees, promoted after Tert Card leaves.
Mrs. Lumbull: Substitute teacher at Bunny's school.


message 5: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Flood (goodreadscomdanielleflood) | 4 comments Thank you. Sorry. Then I must be going out of my mind. No. Maybe it's that there was only one child in the movie.


message 6: by Elizabeth (Alaska) (last edited Oct 01, 2017 08:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Elizabeth (Alaska) Danielle wrote: "Thank you. Sorry. Then I must be going out of my mind. No. Maybe it's that there was only one child in the movie."

I think it's good that you commented/asked. I have never seen such a complete character listing before in reviews (probably because I didn't really look), and it might be a good thing if we could find it in the future and post to our discussions.


message 7: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Flood (goodreadscomdanielleflood) | 4 comments Kind of you to say so. By the way what is a GR review, please?


Elizabeth (Alaska) Danielle wrote: "Kind of you to say so. By the way what is a GR review, please?"

A review on GR - I meant it to be one from the larger community, not from one of my GR friends.


message 9: by Karin (last edited Oct 07, 2017 01:44PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin I read this some years ago (don't remember exactly when) and it's excellent. I might reread it and have it at home, but given the impact it made, I can still discuss a number of things about it.

Danielle wrote: "Thank you. Sorry. Then I must be going out of my mind. No. Maybe it's that there was only one child in the movie."

Wow, I hate that when the eliminate characters, particularly one that important. I understand that they can't have every single one all the time, such as multiple store clerks or something. My kids and I still hate the fact that Madge was eliminated from the Hunger Games movies, for example.


Sophie | 138 comments I read this a number of years ago and re-read for this group read.
I downgraded my rating upon this second reading because of the excessive amount of unfamiliar terms related to fishing and the house and weather. Typically I have a dictionary on had to look up terms I am not familiar with but in this case, I just did not have the patience. Otherwise I still enjoyed the stories.


message 11: by Karin (last edited Oct 31, 2017 05:30PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karin Sophie wrote: "I read this a number of years ago and re-read for this group read.
I downgraded my rating upon this second reading because of the excessive amount of unfamiliar terms related to fishing and the ho..."


It's always interesting how different readers respond to a book. I didn't mind those because the house was referred to so much because it was symbolic of Quoyle's life (I don't always pay much attention to that and was tired of it for a while, but after what happened to it at the end it all clicked for me). I don't mind fishing since my dad use to take us and fishing is a huge part of the NFLD economy, and weather is a big deal in NFLD, BUT I can see why they could be a distraction from the actual people and the story.

I wasn't sure I was going to like it due to the darkness and heaviness of much of it, but I ended up liking it a great deal.


Kairia This book felt like driving endlessly through fog. Nothing in particular stood out and the characters never do or say anything worth remembering. I'll give the movie a chance but it was not very well received, so I don't have high hopes for it.


Karin Kairia wrote: "This book felt like driving endlessly through fog. Nothing in particular stood out and the characters never do or say anything worth remembering. I'll give the movie a chance but it was not very we..."

Interesting, but then it is literary fiction so not necessarily much action. I loved the character growth, but to each her own!


Kairia There doesn't have to be much action, and I understand Quoyle has great character development but even so, I didn't find his character relatable (or any character really). The rather bizarre names certainly didn't help.
I can't even point out things I particularly disliked. Nothing stood out enough for me to do so.
I did learn how to pronounce Newfoundland correctly. About halfway through the book I found out it was not "NewFOUNDland." Oops!


Karin Kairia wrote: "There doesn't have to be much action, and I understand Quoyle has great character development but even so, I didn't find his character relatable (or any character really). The rather bizarre names ..."

This is an extremely common mistake Americans make, so you're not alone. Those of us who grow up north of the border are corrected much sooner, but I think I even read it the wrong way when I was little as I didn't make the connection with it.

But, like most Canadians, I apparently don't say it like the locals do, but like the CBC does, and it has changed over time. Here is a humorous but accurate discussion by a Newfie on this.

How to Pronounce Newfoundland


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