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Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Glad I read it

This is the story of Quoyle.. who is always the foil.. he was treated badly growing up, was severely emotionally abused throughout his marriage to a whorish nymphomaniac, and repeatedly got fired from his dead end job. So when his aunt suggests they move to Newfoundalan...
This is the story of Quoyle.. who is always the foil.. he was treated badly growing up, was severely emotionally abused throughout his marriage to a whorish nymphomaniac, and repeatedly got fired from his dead end job. So when his aunt suggests they move to Newfoundaland he picks up his children .. Bunny & Sunshine (love their names).. and moves.

In Newfoundland he is re-created. He becomes successful at his job. He is respected by others. The town has it's own quirkiness so he & the family fit in well.

I liked the story a lot. To me it really reflects how our roots affect us in ways we don't even realize. I think it's really cool when a character discovers things about themselves through digging into their ancestry. The writing style is quick and easy to read. The dialogue is engaging as the town people speak with their unique accent. I enjoyed reading this story of self-discovery.

posted by kimdep on April 22, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Proulx won an award for this?!

This has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. The writing was choppy and jumpy and what little character development there was didn't matter anyway because the characters weren't even believable. I only got to page 90 before I had to quit reading it and I usua...
This has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. The writing was choppy and jumpy and what little character development there was didn't matter anyway because the characters weren't even believable. I only got to page 90 before I had to quit reading it and I usually never quit reading books, even when they're bad. This book was a major disappointment.

posted by Anonymous on September 3, 2002

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    A Literate Person

    To criticize the writing in this excellent novel is to showcase an ignorance of the reality of cadenced and often clipped thoughts each of possess, especially at our more vulnerable moments.

    This perfectly and artistically crafted novel is full of nuanced description, allegorical characters, and a poetic rhythm that makes for a totally unique read.

    Brilliant.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    Glad I read it

    This is the story of Quoyle.. who is always the foil.. he was treated badly growing up, was severely emotionally abused throughout his marriage to a whorish nymphomaniac, and repeatedly got fired from his dead end job. So when his aunt suggests they move to Newfoundaland he picks up his children .. Bunny & Sunshine (love their names).. and moves.

    In Newfoundland he is re-created. He becomes successful at his job. He is respected by others. The town has it's own quirkiness so he & the family fit in well.

    I liked the story a lot. To me it really reflects how our roots affect us in ways we don't even realize. I think it's really cool when a character discovers things about themselves through digging into their ancestry. The writing style is quick and easy to read. The dialogue is engaging as the town people speak with their unique accent. I enjoyed reading this story of self-discovery.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    Real Readers Relish It

    I can't imagine anyone not placing this book at the top of their Must Read list. The characters are real - not grand in stature - but so like the rest of us - not pretty, struggling, abandoned, but filled with a great desire to find a life. As a former newspaper woman, I especially like the way our hero narrows everything down to alliterative headlines. How could you not howl when the entire family is confined to a single motel room and the dog is farting up a storm in its sleep: Farts Fell Family of Four. You've got to love it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2008

    Insanely Good

    Definitely deserving of it's Pulitzer. I read a lot and normally know where a story is going and why, but this is so artfully complex and surprising, without being contrived. So well done!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    best book I've read in years!

    Yes, it is complex, and yes, she does change the rules of grammar, but all to a purpose. Quoyle is symbolic of the aimless, empty lives so many of us live these days. By pure grace is he saved.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2002

    Proulx won an award for this?!

    This has to be one of the worst books I have ever read. The writing was choppy and jumpy and what little character development there was didn't matter anyway because the characters weren't even believable. I only got to page 90 before I had to quit reading it and I usually never quit reading books, even when they're bad. This book was a major disappointment.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2002

    Exhausting

    I really disliked this book. It's as though the author deliberately created a pretentious style of writing so that no one would notice how shallow the characters are. And if you're going to name every character with a noun (Al Catalog, Tate Card, Petal Bear), there should be some discernable meaning to those choices. I am an avid reader, and this is only the second book I have EVER quit reading before finishing it (the other was the uncut version of Heinlein's 'Stranger in a Strange Land'). I felt no sympathy for the characters, and found the plot unengaging. Sorry.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2012

    This book depressed me at first, then grew on me, and then haunt

    This book depressed me at first, then grew on me, and then haunted me after I finished it. Quoyle became real to me, a regular guy capable of love. I was rooting for him. I am still rooting for him all these years later.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2010

    If I had to choose between reading this book again and hanging myself...

    I'd hang myself. I could feel no real connection with any of the characters, and if there was any humor in the writing, it was lost on me. I could not stand the sentence fragments. I really wanted to read this because it was highly recommended by a relative, but I won't be taking her suggestions again. The ocean was way over-described, and the dialogue between the newsmen was void of any meaning or humor whatsoever. Save your $ and read something else (by a different author) that's not a chore to plod through.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    thank goodness that's over...

    It has been a long long time since I have been so happy to finally turn the last page of this book. Reading it was like walking through a quagmire. It was like swimming through molasses. It was like what I'm sure Wesley and Buttercup felt when they were in the lightning sand in "The Princess Bride". I'm sure you get the picture.

    Yes, I know it's a Pulitzer Prize winner. It's a good thing I wasn't on the panel that decided that honor. The writing style was so tough to get into. Fragmented sentences made the book so choppy. Boring way to write. Lazy. And hurts readers' eyes. (Yes, I also know I use them, too, but this is casual writing, not a novel...) The characters just would not shut up, either. It seemed as though each chapter had Billy Pretty or Nutbeem or somebody going off on some lecture about something. Who cares?! Shut up! There were times I felt that the writer was so into thinking that she was good that she distracted herself from the story. Even her picture on the back of the jacket showed her with a smug smile on her face.

    The story itself was ok; nothing mind-bendingly amazing. Man quits job after two-timing wife dies and moves to ancestral land of Newfoundland. Finds love and lives happily ever after. There, now you don't have to read it. I even included the fragmented sentences for you. If the story had been written by someone else, or if Ms. Proulx had a different writing style, then maybe it could have been good.

    If you're suffering from insomnia or you want to take a nap or you just feel like reading a snoozer, definitely pick up this book. Maybe the movie's better...

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2007

    Best I've Read In Years!

    Proulx's prose is as cutting and cool as the Newfoundland coast she writes about. The characters are so real, it's as if you could reach out and touch them. Haunting, and truly magical, a book about hope and the things that keep us going.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    Wake me when its over...

    I love Newfoundland, and I love the sea. ----- I give Proulx credit for capturing the Newfoundland voice and a bit of what life is like in fishing villages, and I appreciate learning many fascinating words... ------ But this book is an embarrassment to the Pulitzers, The PEN/Faulkner, and to the national Book Award. It makes it SO clear that they are little more than navel-gazing clubby Authors and Writing-Teachers giving colleagues Awards, rather than rewarding actual talent or story-telling skills. ------ Every book needs a character you can care about--this book has none. The characters are just empty, cookie-cutter frames for Proulx to hang her flowery language on. ------ The characters are pure stereotypes: The Very Bad Wife, The Gruff Newspaperman, The Wacky Cafe Owner, The Quiet Gentle Redeeming Girl. Ugh. ------ Worse yet, she has one pathetic attempt at livening the book up with a gratuitous and gory murder that, regrettably--has absolutely no relevence to the rest of the book. ------ And if you ask me--this is a sheltered author trying VERY hard to write about loss and pain when she clearly knows little of it, or at least cannot express it well. ------ This could and should be a book of great beauty and depth, but utterly fails because its clear she knows only how to write pretty sentences, but next to nothing about loss and pain.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2006

    Only continued for school

    About as riviting as a smooth nutbolt. I started reading it for school, barely finishing it for it too. I've read others praising the writing style, I disagree strongly. Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I don't go off making up styles of writing that defy the gramatical laws we have been told to follow. Also, it's so hard to follow what's going on sometimes and is often boring. The storyline has been bad enough really. Quoyle is a grade A loser whom we should show pity for? Hate? Like? I don't like how Quoyle doesn't have a persona. What I'm saying is there is no defined Quoyle. His actions are often spuratic and uncharacteristic of what he has done so far. And the rest, I skip many conversatoins of useless characters. Agnis is annoying, she's like the nagging step mom that doesn't disipline out of love, but out of aggravation and distance. The characters aren't really explained much either by thoughts or statements about their character. This book put me to sleep many nights. I would like to know what makes it interesting too. The humor comes about every hundred pages I say. There are rare, I mean rare, parts where you raise a grin, but it's normally off of morbid humor really. I would have to dissuade others from reading it, but you can see for yourselves.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2005

    No reason to root for the main character

    I didn't even bother finishing this book. It was depressing from the start, and I was never given any reason to hope for or cheer for Quoyle. He had absolutely no redeeming qualities, nor was there a thing about him to which I could relate or identify. I didn't think it was worth continuing. I don't understand why this author has so many fans.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2004

    What A Bore

    In her novel Proulx introduces the main character, Quoyle, as a loser, a 36 year-old man who can't get anything right. He is a failure as a newspaper reporter, a failure in love who also has the physical detestable appearance to go with it. When his hippie wife dies in a traffic accident after leaving him for another man, he, his aunt and two young daughters start over by moving to Newfoundland, Canada. While the story starts off fantastic, Proulx¿s descriptions of Quoyle are rather amusing, the story ultimately takes a nose dive after about 60 pages. Targeted for fishing and boating enthusiasts who appreciate and relate to the Canadian sea life, it is not recommended for the general lay reader

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2004

    Very slow, boring, and depressing

    This book would have been good if it weren't so ARTSY. I think the author is trying to sound intelligent and be unique by writing sentence fragments, but I found it took away from the book. The plot is able to be developed into a good book, but the author's style of writing ruined the whole experience.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2012

    Perfect

    Always be my favorie book

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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    Stopped Reading It

    I didn't like this book I actually stopped reading it, which is not something I normally do. Even if it's a book I don't really care for I still finish it. Not this book. I am so surprised that it won a Pulitzer Prize.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very nice read

    Proulx presents an interesting tale weaving together maritime lingo, knots, and know-how, with a bit of humor and the seldom shared realities of human life. I recommend the book as a fairly light read with some depth and interesting nuances.

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