The Shipping News

The Shipping News

4.11 - 1251 ratings - Source

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Annie Proulxa€™s The Shipping News is a vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family. Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, with a a€œhead shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair...features as bunched as kissed fingertips, a€ is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just desserts. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. Here, on desolate Quoylea€™s Point, in a house empty except for a few mementos of the familya€™s unsavory past, the battered members of three generations try to cobble up new lives. Newfoundland is a country of coast and cove where the mercury rarely rises above seventy degrees, the local culinary delicacy is cod cheeks, and ita€™s easier to travel by boat and snowmobile than on anything with wheels. In this harsh place of cruel storms, a collapsing fishery, and chronic unemployment, the aunt sets up as a yacht upholsterer in nearby Killick-Claw, and Quoyle finds a job reporting the shipping news for the local weekly, the Gammy Bird (a paper that specializes in sexual-abuse stories and grisly photos of car accidents). As the long winter closes its jaws of ice, each of the Quoyles confronts private demons, reels from catastrophe to minor triumpha€”in the company of the obsequious Mavis Bangs; Diddy Shovel the strongman; drowned Herald Prowse; cane-twirling Beety; Nutbeem, who steals foreign news from the radio; a demented cousin the aunt refuses to recognize; the much-zippered Alvin Yark; silent Wavey; and old Billy Pretty, with his bag of secrets. By the time of the spring storms Quoyle has learned how to gut cod, to escape from a pickle jar, and to tie a true lovera€™s knot.It is then an easy matter to roll the bight down as far as the roots of the fingers, where it can be grasped with the finger tips of one ... They squeezed into Billya#39;s truck, off to the Fishermana#39;s Chance in Killick-Claw for fish and chips, escaped and away from Tert ... as though a paper marbler had worked through THE ASHLEY BOOK OF KNOTS them with his combs making French curls, cascades and winged.

Title:The Shipping News
Author:Annie Proulx
Publisher:Simon and Schuster - 2008-01-01


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