Quoyle is a hapless, hopeless hack journalist living and working inNew York. When his no-good wife is killed in a spectacular road accident, Quoyle heads for the land of his forefathers – the remotest corner of far flungNewfoundland. With ‘the aunt’ and his delinquent daughters – Bunny and Sunshine – in tow, Quoyle finds himself a part of an unfolding, exhilarating Atlantic drama.
There is little in this world that is more subjective than the reading of a novel. What one person finds truly enthralling, another will find totally boring. I think it would be safe to say there is a book out there for everyone … just not the same book!
Such was the case with The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, a Pulitzer Prize winner, no less. The majority of our Monday night group found this tale of Quoyle, a hopelessly ineffectual individual, much like the character himself … a total waste of time. They found the writing disjointed and the story slow with little or nothing to engage them. Sandra persevered and finished the book even though she found all the characters annoying and Cheryle had to work hard at staying interested, finding her enjoyment level waning and accelerating several times throughout.
Jean proved the biggest fan and became engaged with everyone, loving the subtle humour and gradual development of Quoyle’s character. She made a pertinent comment that Quoyle seemed to be a bystander of his own life and only slowly began to take charge near the story’s conclusion. Something we all firmly agreed with and on a positive note, found very satisfying.
It was generally recognized within the group that this type of characterization is tricky and only an accomplished author could pull it off. Whether Proulx did it successfully is still a matter of differing opinions. There were those of us who could not finish or attempt this read, but it was mentioned this could simply be because of the time of year (too much on our minds) and that they may well try again in the near future. Regardless, Shipping News presented a challenge to wrap up a great year of reading with our Monday Night club and the whole group is eager for another 12 books in 2012.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of our readers!