Customer Reviews for

The Shipping News

Average Rating 3.5
( 99 )
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5 Star

(36)

4 Star

(26)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(15)

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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

1 out of 4 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 May 10, 2006

    Wonderful

    sI thought that this was one of the best books I have ever read. The way it is written is a little hard to get into, and it isn't an easy read. It took me four days to read it when normally it would have taken two. But it is worth it. It gives you everything. Sorrow. Love. Hate. Saddness. Hope. Wonder. It really was wonderful.

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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.

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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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2005

    Beautiful, but tiresome

    Annie Proulx's excessive fragment sentences made this book a difficult read for me, believe it or not. Her prose is simple, elegant, gorgeously descriptive, laugh-out-loud hysterical, lyrical even, but all too many times I was left in the dark by its ungrammaticality. The main character, Quoyle, is not a hero, not even all that likeable, but since when do you have to 'identify' with the character to appreciate a detailed, satisfying, and breath-takingly beautiful read? And anyway, the other characters make up for any lack of color in Quoyle's personality!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2005

    Truly Outstanding

    Interesting and quite moving. This is definitely one of the best books that I have ever read. It is intelligent, intriguing and well researched. Although the clipped style of writing is a bit unusual (standard grammar will not be found within the pages), once I got into the rhythm of the book I could not put it down. It is a fascinating story that follows a man and his family as they search to find a bit of peace and contentment in their unusually dysfunctional lives by going back to their ancestral home in Newfoundland. The plot nicely ties together by the end of the book and the reader is enriched with the knowledge that we can all find our right place in this world if we have the courage to seek it. A bonus is the fascinating descriptions of life in Newfoundland.

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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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2004

    Powerful!

    This book was riveting. It drew you in at the first chapter and kept drawing you farther and farther into it. What a great read!

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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

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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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2004

    Sara W.- student at Greenfield Middle School , Bakersfield CA

    This book is the most exciting book that tell the story of a man and what he has to go through after his wife petal leaves him. IT may be lon and slow but is worth while to read i recommed this to those who enjoy a good riviting book that i guarante that will put you into a wonderful story your self so sit back with this book and ENJOY!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2003

    very slow

    it was hard to finish reading this book. Good idea, but definately missing some action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2004

    Intense and moving

    Whilst it is a fair comment that the plot does not include dozens of huge events this book is in no way slow. The characterisation is excellent, and because of this it is easy to become very involved in the life of the protagonist, and quite gripped with the book. It manages a rare feat in giving the reader a real journey from darkness into light without ever seeming twee or predictable. A bit like Beethoven's ninth. I liked it alot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2003

    Terribly slow reading

    I saw the movie first and that's the reason I decided to buy the book. I thought the characters were quite interesting and I thought the book would include a thorough description of them. Unfortunately, I find the book terribly slow and uneventful. If I didn't 'know' the characters from the movie, I'm afraid I would have already abandoned the book (which I'm desperately trying not to do because it's against my principles). I know the book is slow because it reflects Newfoundland atmosphere, but I think the author should have found some other way of showing that atmosphere but at the same captivate the readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2003

    I must be missing something

    This is undoubtedly one of the slowest moving, least interestin books I have ever read. I wanted to put it down but kept reading, hoping that something - anything - would happen. Unfortunately nothing did ever happen. The characters were uninteresting, the plot was boring and the writing style was not at all enjoyable to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2003

    brilliant and unorthodox

    The wonderfully inventive prose successfully accompanies a refreshingly unheroic protagonist - Quoyle. The descriptions are vivid and imaginative, and the characters are warm and interesting. An excellent book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2003

    I didn't like it.

    I felt that it was very slow moving and what little storyline did develop was quite boring. I never leave a book unfinished but I was very close to quitting this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2002

    Superb narration by Robert Joy

    The Shipping News has come to me only via the voice of Robert Joy, in an intriguing, skillful, captivating reading on an audiotape, purchased in a Wisconsin truckstop. I haven't seen the movie or read the book, though I will do both. Joy's accents and insights made miles of a long drive virtually disappear into crashing seas and mauve seascapes of the story. It is worth much to have a real actor and real man of Canada read this story. I was enormously impressed with his talents and the way the prose and dialogue came alive. The other lukewarm reviews make me think that perhaps some books are made to be not only read, but read aloud.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2002

    Loved it!

    This book was great. The choppy style of writing was annoying in the begining but as I read more I figured it was written that way to match the main character. Quoyle's personality was choppy and disruptive, and I felt that I could relate to him and his problems. I loved everything about this book and highly recomend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2002

    English Teacher Loves Shipping News

    As an English teacher, I was taken aback by the sentence structure or lack thereof. I had to ask myself what kind of a grade I would give a student who made such an offering as a writing assignment. Alas, it would have to be an A+++, as the story kept me reading and I was very sorry to part with Quoyle, his friends and family, and Newfoundland. The story and style overrides the concerns of this English teacher. It was a lovely journey; I am sorry it is over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2002

    What were they thinking?

    The Pulitzer Prize? My kids can put more intelligent sentences together. The only thing I found even mildly interesting about this book was the description of the Newfoundland coast. I quit reading it twice but persevered because I hate to allow a book to beat me. I found myself skipping paragraphs, reading ahead, hoping it would get better. It never did. Don't bother with this purchase...it's not even worth borrowing.

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