Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Shipping News - 3M's Review

shippingnews.JPGI started out not liking the writing style of this book at all. This is the first Proulx book I've read, but if her other books are written in the same style, she is the queen of both the sentence fragment and the comma splice. I get that some of the sentences were supposed to be news headlines, and I found that to be clever. However, not all of them were and it truly was like fingers on a chalkboard to me. After a few chapters, though, I found the storyline very compelling. The characters were well drawn, and I was sympathetic to their life situations. I discovered that I wanted to keep reading so I could learn what happened to them.

Quoyle and his family go from the States back to Newfoundland, which is where his father was originally from. Everyone there knows about the Quoyles and it isn't all good. Quoyle is a kind man, but a bit of a bumbler, or so he thinks. He has a job at the local newspaper writing about car wrecks and the shipping news. (I could have done without the detailed newspaper reports of the s*x abu se cases.) He takes care of his little girls, Bunny and Sunshine, as well as his aunt. Or is his aunt taking care of him? (I was fascinated by her character, especially the certain incident with the outhouse!) All in all, it's an engaging domestic drama taking place in a freezing, unforgiving climate.

In the end, I still didn't like the writing style, but I did enjoy reading about this family and Newfoundland. I'm now looking forward to viewing the movie adaptation.

1993, 337 pp.
Rating: 3.5

Winner, Pulitzer Prize
Winner, National Book Award

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