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The Shipping News
ISBN 068419337X / 9780684193373 / 0-684-19337-X
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This darkly comic, wonderfully inventive work, winner of the 1993 National Book Award, transforms the lore of Newfoundland--including shipwrecks, nautical knot-tying, horrid weather and family legend--into brilliant literary art. It is the story of the rebirth of Quoyle, a hulking, inarticulate, misery-ridden widower who flees upstate New York to take up residence in Newfoundland. The island of his forebears, Newfoundland is a dreary rock in the north Atlantic beset by lousy weather. Proulx lovingly recreates this hardscrabble location in her vivid, distinctive prose and populates it with a cast of amusing, richly human characters. Quoyle, a "third-rate newspaperman," makes a hit with his "Shipping News" column, while his anguish at the loss of his faithless wife is slowly transformed by the strengthening ties that bind him to the place and to his fellow Newfoundlanders. [via]