The Shipping News image.jpg

Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack... is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just deserts.  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 Quoyle's Point, in a house empty except for a few mementoes of the family'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 70 degrees, the local culinary delicacy is cod cheeks, and it'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 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 triumph--in the company of 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 lover's knot.*

E Annie Proulx was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1974 for The Shipping News.  

* From the book's jacket.  

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