Books & Co.
Annie Proulx
The Shipping News

Original Airdate: August 21, 2002


About the Author

Edna Annie Proulx is an American journalist and author. Her second novel, The Shipping News (1993), won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for fiction in 1994, and was made into a film in 2001. Her short story "Brokeback Mountain" was adapted as an Academy Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe Award-winning major motion picture released in 2005. She won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her first novel, Postcards. She has written most of her stories and books simply as Annie Proulx but has also used the names E. Annie Proulx and E.A. Proulx.


About this Book

The story centers on Quoyle, a newspaper worker from New York whose father had emigrated from Newfoundland. Shortly after the suicide of his parents, Quoyle's unfaithful and abusive wife Petal and her lover leave town. Days later, she sells their daughters to a 'black market adoption agency' for the sum of $6,000. Soon thereafter, Petal and her lover are killed in a car accident; the young girls are located by police and returned to Quoyle. Despite the safe return of his daughters, Quoyle's life is collapsing and his paternal aunt, Agnis Hamm, convinces him to return to their ancestral home of Newfoundland for a new beginning. This ancestral home is situated on Quoyle's Point. He obtains work as a car-accident reporter for the Gammy Bird, local newspaper of the town of Killick-Claw. The Gammy Bird's editor also asks him to document the shipping news, arrivals and departures from the local port, which soon grows into Quoyle's signature articles on boats of interest in the harbour. Quoyle gradually makes friends within the community, learns about his own troubled family background, and begins a relationship with a local woman, Wavey. Quoyle's growth in confidence and emotional strength, as well as his ability to be comfortable in a loving relationship, become the main focus for the book. A series of deep and disturbing secrets about his ancestors emerge in strange ways.