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The Shipping News
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The Shipping News [Audio Download]

by Annie Proulx (Author), Robert Joy (Narrator)
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 5 hours and 11 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Abridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 14 April 2000
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SQF72K
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
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Product Description

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.
©1995 E. Annie Proulx, All Rights Reserved; (P)1995 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved; AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
Other reviews swing wildy between perfect 5 and damning 1. I'll settle for a contented 4. Only because it took a while to get into the book. Believe me: it's worth it.

Agree that it's hard to sympathise with Quoyle (our, um, hero) in the early chapters. Not the heroic type at all... wounded by his father's totally undisguised favouritism towards his spiteful brother. Overweight and ugly. Lacking self confidence, self control... Nor the clichéd anti-establishment anti-hero. In fact dull, dull, dull......

But hang on. Isn't this every man? Who among us is perfect in mind and body? Fat and unsure of ourselves. Tall, gangly and introspective. Tough on the outside, vulnerable and drawn towards self-destructive behaviour on the quiet.

That's how the book draws you slowly in. Characters may have improbably names, but they're more real than most perfect size 8, gym-toned fiction you'll ever read.

The small kids are drawn so well. Such a rarity in an adult novel.

The island and the sea are characters in themselves. Newfoundland, its inlets and offshore islands, abandoned settlements, pragmatic architecture. Punished by - and yet so dependent on - the sea, like the cruel parents that seem to crop up all too often in the book. Buffeted even more by wavering subsidy from remote government that really cannot see through the fog to get a proper picture of life on the the Rock. By the vagiaries of globalisation....

Sounds depressing. But ultimately a redemptive, quiet, gorgeously imperfect celebration of community and finding the inner strength to accept yourself, for all your flaws and the stuff you found it hard to deal with. I'll read it again and again.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars poetry in prose.....just wonderful 8 Aug 2001
By "rutta"
I can't believe it has taken me so long to discover 'The Shipping News'. Not just a soul enhancing story but a beautiful and refreshing narrative style. I have never come across a writer like Proulx, her mastery of prose and particulary description is unforgettable. From the first page I knew I was delving into something remarkable.
Reading this I was absoultely transported to life in Newfoundland. The cold, the ice, the wind and the danger all penetrated my imagination and I was frozen stiff reading most of it!
A tragedy with a loveable oaf as a hero, the unforgettable stalwart aunt with her grief and her memories, children with a hope for the future away from modern times. Escape into a harsh world which demands courage and resolution, but the rewards and the education the Quoyle family receive is touching and satisfying.
A tale of loss, history, roots, grief and new beginnings. Never does Proulx weave her plot through rose tinted spectacles and soft nostalgia, rendering this novel as among the best I have ever read.
There is a very naked truth in this novel and it will grind you hard. I'd call it catharsis.
Read this. It's an exploration.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Light Novel with a Dark One Trying to Get Out 21 July 2011
By J C E Hitchcock TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The central character of "The Shipping News" is Quoyle- we never learn his Christian name-, a thirty-something journalist with a local newspaper in upstate New York. Quoyle is physically unattractive- we are repeatedly told about his big chin-, does not enjoy his work, and his private life is a mess. His parents have committed suicide, and his cold, unloving wife Petal is repeatedly unfaithful to him. When Petal is killed in a car accident along with one of her lovers, Quoyle decides to escape to Newfoundland, where his family originally comes from. Together with his aunt, Agnis, and his two young daughters, Bunny and Sunshine, Quoyle moves into the old family home near the Newfoundland town of Killick-Claw, and finds a job on the local paper, "The Gammy Bird". (The name is a local dialect term for the eider duck). The book's title derives from the fact that, as part of his duties, Quoyle is expected to report on the movement of ships in and out of the town's harbour.

The central theme of the book is what can be described as Quoyle's emotional healing during his time in Newfoundland. When we first meet him he is traumatised by his experiences with Petal and haunted by the feeling that his life has been a failure. Gradually, however, he is accepted into the community of Killick-Claw, enjoys greater success in his job and begins a romance with Wavey Prowse, a young widow with a handicapped child.

This is a book which appears to divide opinion. Critically it was a success and won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, but a number of reviewers on this site have criticised it severely. Annie Proulx's prose style seems to be particularly controversial.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book - a definite re-reader! 31 Jan 2001
By A Customer
I have just about finished reading this book for the 2nd time. I read it about a year ago and it has stayed in my memory so much I had to read it again. The book transports you to the cold and icy Newfoundland where Quoyle finds himself after leaving the tragedy of his 'other' life behind, and doesn't let you forget it even after the final word has been read. And whilst the book is not full of laughs or semtimentality, still through the bleakness and the melancholy is a feeling of hope, of identifying with Quoyle and to some extent with the other characters like the Aunt, Wavey Prowse and even Bunny and Sunshine Quoyle. I found putting the book down extremely difficult, thinking 'just another page'. Proulx drew me into the knot of Quoyle's life and emotions, and I felt more that I was watching events rather than reading about them. I would recommend this truly amazing, touching and thought-provoking book to anyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!
I really enjoyed this book. I chose it based on my love of landscape/seaside descriptions and this book does not disappoint in that department. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Wren
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting read from beginning to end.
This story packs in action with humour, sadness and hope. Against all the odds Quoyle makes the journey towards a brighter future.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs Isa Sutton
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story
Great to read this again. Very different to the film and more gritty.
Loved the characters and the description of the environment.
Published 3 months ago by Mr Philip R Rossiter
3.0 out of 5 stars "One more thing. I'm not no joke, Quoyle...
And I don't never want to hear jokes about Newfoundland or Newfoundlanders. Keep it in mind. I hates a Newfie joke. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John P. Jones III
5.0 out of 5 stars read this book.
The writing isn't for everyone becuase she has a poetic style that's more fragmented than typical prose. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Poppygoodwill
2.0 out of 5 stars I left it on the boat
I've just read this on a cruise vacation and I left it in the ship's library. I must apologise to anyone who picks it up from there. I hope it doesn't spoil your holiday. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ann Smyth
4.0 out of 5 stars Growing up in a new environment
The story of Quoyle. Quoyle's parents, both terminally ill, commit suicide together. Quoyle is already in a bad marriage. Read more
Published 9 months ago by realbookreview
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This book was advertised as brand new but when I received it, it was clearly second hand as this was noted in pencil in the front cover along with the price. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Miss D A Lavery
1.0 out of 5 stars The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
I did not like this book although the story did pick up in the second half. I would probably never have got that far if it had not been a book club read. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sue Almond
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shipping News
I read this book when it first came out, and read it for a second time very recently as part of a book club.
The group of 10 readers gave it 9 out of 10 and loved it.
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. F. Harvey
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