book cover

The Shipping news by Annie Proulx

About the book

A darkly comic portrait of human life and possibility. Quoyle is a hopeless hack journalist working in New York. When his two-timing wife dies in a road accident, he retreats to his ancestral home on the coast of Newfoundland where he must confront the unpredictable forces of nature and society.

Reviewed by Queen Mary’s College Library Reading Group

We liked this book very much although some found it hard going at the beginning. It’s a large and complex novel incorporating themes of regeneration, redemption and the power of love to change people’s lives. The characters are diverse and most of the action is played out against a bleak Newfoundland, dominated by the sea. Some felt the role of the women characters to be rather passive but there are also some strong women like Agnis Hamm with her ability to overcome all kinds of hardships. There’s lots of humour in the novel too and much to think about and discuss.

Star rating: not given

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5 thoughts on “The Shipping news by Annie Proulx”

  1. Review by Bookworms U3A
    We all enjoyed it and found it gripping and imaginative giving a great feeling of the hardships of life in remote country in bad weather.
    Star rating: not given


  2. Review by Milford
    This book gave us much to discuss from the unusual sentence construction which some found annoying to the excellent descriptions of the area. We found some good examples of expressive use of language. It is not an easy read but worth the struggle to finish.
    Star rating: **


  3. Review by Alverstoke Ladies
    Mixed reaction – most were putt off by the first part but started to enjoy it once it got to Newfoundland. We had a good laugh recalling incidents in the book. Advised to read the book first before seeing the film.
    Star rating: ***


  4. Review by After Eights
    We were struck by the style – most found it excellent and very descriptive, one found it affected. The journey of Quoyle to humanity, the bleakness of Newfoundland, the humour of the characters, the wonderful pictures painted gave us all plenty of matters to discuss.
    Star rating: ***


  5. Review by Hooked on Books
    Language/writing style difficult and tedious to read. Author had good knowledge of boats. Interesting insight into life in Newfoundland.
    Star rating **


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