the shipping news by a proulx

Of course.  Not surprised.  If there is a good book, somebody is always out there to suck out its very essence by creating a cinematographic version. I was looking for a cover image for this entry and found that many publishers had altered the cover to the faces of characters from the movie.  The Shipping News by Annie Proulx is an excellent read, to say the least.  Some readers may find the plot to be a bit slow and overly-detailed but Proulx’s attention to the details was, in my opinion, what made this book a Pulitzer prize winner (1994).

One morning, Quoyle finds his children, Bunny and Sunshine, missing until he learns that his runaway wife, Petal, and her lover sold them to a black market adoption agency for six thousand dollars.  Petal and her lover are killed in what may be a karmic car accident.  Uneducated, extremely socially awkward and broke, Quoyle rescues his young daughters with the belief that love conquers all.  However, as the trauma hits hard on his daughters, Bunny and Sunshine, Quoyle decides to pack his entire life into a single bag and move away from the tragedy.  The only place he could think of is his ancestral home in Newfoundland coast.  The journey to Newfoundland is filled with tragic and dark comic incidents that almost reincarnate Quoyle into a different, more confident and charming family man.  He learns more about his mundane yet dynamically changing life and of his daughters than ever before.   His psychological evolution to his understanding of life, however,  comes short when he is exposed to disturbing secrets of his family.

At first, I found it difficult to take the book seriously; all the eccentric names… but the more I read, the more I became drawn into the character developments.  After all, as Shakespeare once said, what’s in a name?  The story of Quoyle also opened my eyes to a type of love that is seldom seen in everyday life.  The kind that reveals itself when every little part of good has been swept away.  The kind of love that surfaces to overcome the when-nothing-more-can-possibly-go-wrong-but-it-does situations. The Shipping News is a must, must, must read for the summer!

dee’s rec: 4/5

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