The Shipping News

The Shipping News

Book - 1994
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Annie Proulx's The Shipping News is a vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family.

Quoyle, a third-rate newspaper hack, with a "head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair...features as bunched as kissed fingertips," is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife meets her just desserts. An aunt convinces Quoyle and his two emotionally disturbed daughters to return with her to the starkly beautiful coastal landscape of their ancestral home in Newfoundland. Here, on desolate Quoyle's Point, in a house empty except for a few mementos of the family's unsavory past, the battered members of three generations try to cobble up new lives.

Newfoundland is a country of coast and cove where the mercury rarely rises above seventy degrees, the local culinary delicacy is cod cheeks, and it's easier to travel by boat and snowmobile than on anything with wheels. In this harsh place of cruel storms, a collapsing fishery, and chronic unemployment, the aunt sets up as a yacht upholsterer in nearby Killick-Claw, and Quoyle finds a job reporting the shipping news for the local weekly, the Gammy Bird (a paper that specializes in sexual-abuse stories and grisly photos of car accidents).

As the long winter closes its jaws of ice, each of the Quoyles confronts private demons, reels from catastrophe to minor triumph--in the company of the obsequious Mavis Bangs; Diddy Shovel the strongman; drowned Herald Prowse; cane-twirling Beety; Nutbeem, who steals foreign news from the radio; a demented cousin the aunt refuses to recognize; the much-zippered Alvin Yark; silent Wavey; and old Billy Pretty, with his bag of secrets. By the time of the spring storms Quoyle has learned how to gut cod, to escape from a pickle jar, and to tie a true lover's knot.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Simon & Schuster, 1994
Edition: 1st Touchstone ed
ISBN: 9780671510053
Branch Call Number: GEN FIC PB Pro 05
Characteristics: 337 p. :,ill


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Aug 22, 2020

Pulitzer 1994

Jul 28, 2020

A solid book of practical importance.

Mar 30, 2020

Fascinating read of life in a very hardscrabble area of Newfoundland. Both poignant and humorous with some good personal romance and uplifting conviction

Dec 31, 2019

Loved this wonderful book. A great way to wrap up my 2019 reading.

Aug 07, 2019

Loved how The Ashley Book of Knots parallels Quoyle's travails and will never tire of the stark humor that runs through this tale of a man finding a place in life. Her writing cuts all excess from each sentence, you are left only with the heart and it is as hideous at it is wondrous.

Jun 24, 2019

A fun read that takes you along the life of a beaten down man, and his slow realization that he can have a life deemed worth having. He may not be the best newspaper man, but he finds away to make it his own. Love hasn't come easy, but he does find it with someone that understands what it's like to beaten down. Together their future; while not finished; does lead the read on the the path of both finding and being happy togeher.

Mar 13, 2019

In the unforgiving landscape of Newfoundland, Quoyle starts a new life with his two children after the death of his faithless wife.
The landscape is as much a character as the characters in one of my favorite reads of all time.
Quoyle is a hapless guy who over time grows on you as you see him become more aware of who he is and that he deserves better then what life has dished out so far.
One great story!

Feb 05, 2019

One of my favorite books. Great story and beautiful writing

multcolib_susannel Jan 25, 2016

Heart sick and socially awkward, Quoyle returns to his family home because he doesn't know what else to do.

Dec 30, 2015

Enjoyed it. Not a great endorsement for the functionality of NFLD families!

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Dec 26, 2013

“For if Jack Buggit could escape from the pickle jar, if a bird with a broken neck could fly away, what else might be possible? Water may be older than light, diamonds crack in hot goat's blood, mountaintops give off cold fire, forests appear in mid-ocean, it may happen that a crab is caught with the shadow of a hand on its back, and that the wind be imprisoned in a bit of knotted string. And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”

Oct 29, 2010

A great damp loaf of a body. At six he weighed eighty pounds. At sixteen he was buried under a casement of flesh. Head shaped like a crenshaw, no neck, reddish hair ruched back. Features as bunched as kissed fingertips. Eyes the color of plastic. The monstrous chin, a freakish shelf jutting from the lower face.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at NPPL

To Top