- The Shipping News
infobox Book |
name = The Shipping News
E. Annie Proulx
language = English
publisher = Scribner
release_date = 1993
media_type = Print (Hardback &
isbn = ISBN 0-684-19337-X (hardback edition)
The story centers on Quoyle, a newspaper worker from
New Yorkwhose father had emigrated from Newfoundland. Shortly after the suicide of his parents, Quoyle's unfaithful and abusive wife Petal and her lover leave town. Days later, she sells their daughters to a 'black market adoption agency' for the sum of $6,000. Soon thereafter, Petal and her lover are killed in a car accident; the young girls are located by police and returned to Quoyle. Despite the safe return of his daughters, Quoyle's life is collapsing and his paternal aunt, Agnis Hamm, convinces him to return to their ancestral home of Newfoundland for a new beginning. This ancestral home is situated on Quoyle's Point.
He obtains work as a car-accident reporter for the "Gammy Bird", local newspaper of the town of Killick-Claw. The "Gammy Bird's" editor also asks him to document the shipping news, arrivals and departures from the local port, which soon grows into Quoyle's signature articles on boats of interest in the harbour.
Quoyle gradually makes friends within the community, learns about his own troubled family background, and begins a relationship with a local woman, Wavey. Quoyle's growth in confidence and emotional strength, as well as his ability to be comfortable in a loving relationship, become the main focus for the book. A series of deep and disturbing secrets about his ancestors emerge in strange ways. In time, he also learns about his father having raped Agnis (Quoyle's aunt, and his father's sister) in their childhood.
In her acknowledgements Proulx states, "And without the inspiration of
Clifford W. Ashley's wonderful 1944 work, " The Ashley Book of Knots", which I had the good fortune to find at a yard sale for a quarter, this book would have remained just a thread of an idea." Ashley's illustrations and quotes are used at chapter headings throughout the book. Some of the names in the book are taken from knots, for instance Killick hitchand coil.
Awards and nominations
Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1994
National Book Award, 1993
*The Irish Times International Fiction Prize, 1993
* [http://www.pprize.com/BookDetail.php?bk=76 Photos of the first edition of The Shipping News]
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