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The Shipping News (Fourth Estate 25th Anniv Edtn) Hardcover – Special Edition, 15 May 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Special Edition, 15 May 2009
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; Fourth Estate 25th Anniversary edition edition (15 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007308817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007308811
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 3.7 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,858,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘A very impressive achievement. So funny, so full of delights.’ Guardian

‘As stark and ruggedly beautiful as the storm-battered coast of Newfoundland itself.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Ambitious and accomplished…The characterisation is rich, the dialogue both original and convincing.’ Alan Massie, Scotsman

‘A stunning novel.’ Observer

‘To read ‘The Shipping News’ is to yearn to be sitting in The Flying Squid Lunchstop, eating seal fin Curry, watching the icebergs clink together in the bay.’ The Times

From the Publisher

Limited edition (1 of 2000) cover design by Caragh Thuring.

Caragh Thuring was born in 1972 and lives and works in London. Her oil paintings have been exhibited at many galleries including the Saatchi Gallery in London.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend and have now thanked him profusely. The style of Proux's writing is unusual and takes a bit to get used to and the story isn't especially gripping, yet you are drawn to her well drawn characters, as you get to know their foibles and eccentricities. The main character of Qouyle is not a typical hero in the sense that at first he seems to have few redeeming qualities and seems a pathetic man who would hold no interest for a whole novel, yet he does. You see him as a father, a nephew, a shy man getting to know an equally shy woman and a stranger gradually becoming accepted into a place. The place itself, also being a character in the novel described in beautiful detail by the author. I highly recommend the book.
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By A Customer on 26 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
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.
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