Annie Proulx The Shipping News

ISBN 13: 9780671510053

The Shipping News

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9780671510053: The Shipping News
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Anne 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, theGammy 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.

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Recensione:

Stephen Jones Chicago Tribune The Shipping News is that rare creation, a lyric page-turner.

Bruce Allen USA Today The writing is charged with sardonic wit -- alive, funny, a little threatening; packed with brilliantly original images...and, now and then, a sentence that simply takes your breath away.

Roz Spafford San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle Annie Proulx's stunning, big-hearted The Shipping News thaws the frozen lives of its characters and warms readers.

L'autore:

E. Annie Proulx

"I am the oldest of five girls. I was born in Connecticut in 1935, where my mother's English ancestors -- farmers, mill workers, inventors, artists -- have lived for 350 years. My father's Franco-Canadian grandparents came to New England in the 1860s to work in the woolen mills. My father was in the textile business and we moved frequently when I was a child as he worked his way up the executive ladder. I suspect my intense and single-minded work habits stem from his example. My mother is a painter and amateur naturalist, and from her I learned to see and appreciate the natural world, to develop an eye for detail, and to tell a story. There is a strong tradition of oral storytelling in my mother's family and, as a child, I heard thousands of tales and adventures made out of nothing more substantial than the sight of a man digging clams, an ant moving a straw, an empty shoe.

"I've lived in Vermont for more than three decades, studies history at the University of Vermont and Concordia University in Montreal. In hindsight, I recognize that learning to examine the lives of individuals against the longue duree of events was invaluable training for novel-writing.

"There were few teaching jobs in history in the seventies, and I shifted from academic study to freelance journalism and for the next 15 years wrote articles on weather, apples, canoeing, mountain lions, mice, cuisine, libraries, African beadwork, cider, and lettuces for dozens of magazines. Whenever I could squeeze in the time I wrote short stories.

"In 1988, Scribners published a collection of these stories, Heart Songs and Other Stories. My editor encouraged me to write a novel, and this first effort was Postcards. Around the time Heart Songs was published I made my first trip to Newfoundland.

Rarely have I been so strongly moved by geography as I was during that first journey up the Great Northern Peninsula. The harsh climate, the grim history, the hard lives and the generous, warm characters of the outport fisherman and their families interested me deeply. Yet I could also see contemporary civilization rushing in on the island after its centuries of isolation and the idea for The Shipping News began to form. Over the next few years I made nine trips of Newfoundland, watching, observing, taking notes, listening. I am keenly interested in situations of change, both personal and social, and in this book I wanted to show characters teetering along the highwires of their lives yet managing to keep their balance, lives placed against a background of incomprehensible and massive social change.

"The manuscript was completed several months before the Canadian government, alarmed at the decline of the northern cod stock, imposed a fishing moratorium in Newfoundland. Two years later the cod have not recovered, but are at the point of near-extinction. With their disappearance the Newfoundland fishing economy has collapsed. It is now generally observed on the island that the old outport fishing life that sustained Newfoundlanders for centuries is finished."


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