I bought this book on impulse, after a recommendation. The cover and quotes from various members of the literary world sang its praises too, so I was expecting a masterpiece when I opened the book.
However, I was initially disappointed, as the writing seemed lacking in some way. Characterisation, similarly, appeared shallow. The writing style is also slightly off-putting, as the writer is sparing with the use of adverbs and the definite article. Nevertheless, I ploughed on, as something kept me reading. I'm glad I did, as the characters did indeed come to life, and the prose became beautifully descriptive.
It is difficult to bond with Quoyle at first; you feel pity for the poor man who seems to have been a victim all his life. He acts like a drip where his wife, Petal, is concerned. After the loathsome wife dies, Quoyle comes into his own, helped along the way by his stout-hearted woman - The Aunt.
What follows is a story of new beginnings for Quoyle. The courage he has in facing new challenges is admirable, and the path his life takes becomes an enlightenment and lesson for us all.
The beauty of it is that it is a story that doesn't pretend to be something it isn't. It's not a serious account of life in Newfoundland, merely a representation of a man trying to be a good father and find his place in life.