A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary American family, The Shipping News shows why E. Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today. When Quoyle, a 36-year-old, third rate newspaperman, learns that his two-timing wife has abandoned him and their two daughters, he returns to his ancestral home on the Newfoundland coast, where amongst locals and three generations of his family, he begins to rebuild his life. Newfoundland is a dreary rock in the north Atlantic beset by lousy weather. Proulx recreates this barren location in her vivid, distinctive prose and populates it with a cast of amusing, richly human characters. The transformation each of the characters undergoes following the move is profound. And Proulx creates a simple and compelling tale of Quoyle’s psychological and spiritual growth as he confronts his private demons. Along the way, we catch a glimpse of the maritime beauty of what is probably a fading existence.
By Annie Proulx