“If a piece of knotted string can unleash the wind and if a drowned man can awaken . . . then I believe a broken man can heal.”
— Annie Proulx in The Shipping News
Thirty years ago (gasp! time really does fly . . . ), I read The Shipping News – our winter Read With Us selection – with my (much beloved) book group. It was “new” then, a book with a lot of buzz: it had just won The National Book Award and the Pulitzer. People were talking about it in book circles everywhere! For my book group, which was less than a year old at the time, it became The-Book-That-Defined-Us; the book that we measured all other books against. (“But did you think it was as good as The Shipping News?” we’d ask each other. Or we’d lament that our latest book . . . “just wasn’t The Shipping News, y’know?”)
Since then, I’ve read the book at least twice more. And I’ve seen the movie, too.
So. I like the book. Quite a lot.
And I hope you will, too!
In doing a bit of Googling to write this post, I came across a site that asked authors to name their favorite book. Here’s what author Christine McKenna had to say about her favorite – The Shipping News:
“This is perhaps Annie Proulx’s best novel, and I’ve read them all. The proud winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1994, The Shipping News is a page-turning account of Quoyle, a New York journalist who loses his wife in a road accident. Grief-stricken, he heads to a remote corner of Newfoundland, from whence his ancestors hailed. An oddball himself, he encounters some of the most eccentric characters you’ll find in any work of fiction.
Annie Proulx, in her unrivalled mastery of language and descriptive passages, brings each and every one of them to vibrant life. Not only that, but her ability to create mysteries combined with plot twists made this, for me, a truly unforgettable read. I’ve learned a lot about characterization from her. It’s all in the detail.”
— Christine McKenna
For more information about this season’s selection, you can check out our Read With Us reference page (click the link there — or in the menu bar, above, or in the side bar) for all background info and “goodies” about the book.
The book is currently available on Amazon in hardback ($24.75), paperback ($11.59), Kindle ($12.99) or Audible versions (1 credit). You can check your local bookstores for a copy — and, of course, the book should also be available at most libraries.
I do hope you’ll pick up a copy and Read With Us!
Our book discussion day for The Shipping News will be Tuesday, March 21. Bonny, Carole, and I will each post discussion questions on our blogs that day, and then – later in the evening (7:00 pm Eastern time zone) – we’ll be hosting a live book discussion/meet-up on Zoom.
Read With Us!