Bibliofemme Bookclub An Irish Bookclub

January 10, 2012

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx

Filed under: Bookclub Books — The DJ @ 3:07 pm
The Shipping News Book Cover The Shipping News
Annie Proulx
Simon and Schuster

Meeting: Friday 8th February 2002

For my first bookclub book, I chose ‘The Shipping News’ because it was one of those books that I’d always wanted to read and never got around to. Published in 1993, I took a chance and hoped that no one else had read it (even though it was well known and had scooped up literary prizes aplenty). Luck was with me and only ‘The Techie’ had read it.

E. Annie Proulx’s literary tale spans the bleak and inhospitable coastline of a Newfoundland adept at hiding the past. Quoyle, the book’s likeable anti-hero relocates his family to the wilds of the Canadian coast and sets in place a new momentum of living. Here, his passive existence is changed by his encounters with the colourful townsfolk; but for all the camaraderie, dark, ancestral secrets lurk everywhere.

This book is a real treat – Proulx’s descriptions capture everyday things in a way very few writers can. The story is as intricately woven as the knots that symbolise the chapter headings. It’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the lives of her thoroughly enjoyable characters. I particularly loved the personification of the windswept landscape, which Proulx brings to life as a palpable character in itself. Not for the faint-hearted, this is quite a dense, literary tome and is definitely a real “reader’s” book. Dive in – it’s worth it. 5/5

Score awarded by Bibliofemme: 4.2 out of 5

1994 Pulitzer Prize
1993 The National Book Award (Fiction)

What the other femmes had to say
The Historian “Found it impossible to get into and never managed to finish the damn book!”

The Writer “Had to wade uncomfortably through the dense prose at times, but there are enough well-drawn characters for this to deserve a place on the shelf.” 3/5

The DJ “A wordy, windswept story to lose yourself in. Excellent and highly recommended.” 5/5

The Techie “A good read, a bit bland at times but all in all captivating.” 3/5

The Gardener “Proux had the ability to take me to Newfoundland, but I found her writing style to be tedious.”

The Artist “Wonderfully wrought descriptions of characters, community and landscape. Proux’s writing style is fresh and distinctive. I immediately went out and bought several books by her. I was not disappointed.” 5/5

Brokeback Mountain by E. Annie Proulx

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