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The Shipping News
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About the Author

Annie Proulx is the author of eight books, including the novel The Shipping News and the story collection Close Range. Her many honors include a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, and a PEN/Faulkner award. Her story "Brokeback Mountain," which originally appeared in The New Yorker, was made into an Academy Award-winning film. Her most recent novel is Barkskins. She lives in Seattle.

Reviews

Proulx has followed Postcards , her story of a family and their farm, with an extraordinary second novel of another family and the sea. The fulcrum is Quoyle, a patient, self-deprecating, oversized hack writer who, following the deaths of nasty parents and a succubus of a wife, moves with his two daughters and straight-thinking aunt back to the ancestral manse in Killick-Claw, a Newfoundland harbor town of no great distinction. There, Quoyle finds a job writing about car crashes and the shipping news for The Gammy Bird , a local paper kept afloat largely by reports of sexual abuse cases and comical typographical errors. Killick-Claw may not be perfect, but it is a stable enough community for Quoyle and Co. to recover from the terrors of their past lives. But the novel is much more than Quoyle's story: it is a moving evocation of a place and people buffeted by nature and change. Proulx routinely does without nouns and conjunctions--``Quoyle, grinning. Expected to hear they were having a kid. Already picked himself for godfather''--but her terse prose seems perfectly at home on the rocky Newfoundland coast. She is in her element both when creating haunting images (such as Quoyle's inbred, mad and mean forbears pulling their house across the ice after being ostracized by more God-fearing folk) and when lyrically rendering a routine of gray, cold days filled with cold cheeks, squidburgers, fried bologna and the sea. (Mar.)

Off the beaten track of contemporary American fiction in both style and setting, this remarkable second novel by the author of Postcards ( LJ 12/1/91) should capture the attention of readers and critics. Huge, homely Quoyle works off and on for a newspaper. His cheating wife Petal is killed in a car crash while abandoning him and their two preschool daughters. Wallowing in grief, Quoyle agrees to accompany his elderly aunt and resettle in a remote Newfoundland fishing village. Memorable characters--gay aunt Agnis, difficult daughter Bunny, new love interest Wavey, many colorful locals in their new hometown--combine with dark stories of the Quoyle family's past and the staccato, often subjectless or verbless sentences (bound to make English teachers cringe) to create a powerful whole. For most fiction collections.-- Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.

Bruce Allen "USA Today" The writing is charged with sardonic wit -- alive, funny, a little threatening; packed with brilliantly original images...and, now and then, a sentence that simply takes your breath away.
Stephen Jones "Chicago Tribune""The Shipping News" is that rare creation, a lyric page-turner.
Roz Spafford "San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle" Annie Proulx's stunning, big-hearted "The Shipping News" thaws the frozen lives of its characters and warms readers.

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