Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1994 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

The Shipping News by E.Annie Proulx


Publisher: Scribner

Length: 352 pages

About: Journalist widower seeks Newfoundland forefathers

Style: 3rd person

Where: Canada (Newfoundland)

When: 1990s


Publisher’s synopsis:

 When Quoyle's two-timing wife meets her just desserts, he retreats with his two daughters to his ancestral home on the starkly beautiful Newfoundland coast, where a rich cast of local characters and family members all play a part in Quoyle's struggle to reclaim his life. As Quoyle confronts his private demons — and the unpredictable forces of nature and society — he begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery.


A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary North American family, The Shipping News shows why Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.



Was love then like a bag of assorted sweets passed around from which one might choose more than once? Some might sting the tongue, some invoke night perfume. Some had centers as bitter as gall, some blended honey and poison, some were quickly swallowed. And among the common bull's-eyes and peppermints a few rare ones; one or two with deadly needles at the heart, another that brought calm and gentle pleasure. Were his fingers closing on that one?




She makes Newfoundland exotic, with an infectious enthusiasm that has the force of an Atlantic roller. To read The Shipping News is to yearn to be sitting in The Flying Squid Lunchstop, eating Seal Fin curry, watching the icebergs clink together in the bay. And that has to be saying something.

The Times, Gill Hornby 25th November 1993

Not so good:

.....Judging from the comments under the first few Reading Group articles about the book, however, not all Newfoundland residents feel quite so fondly of Proulx as she does about them.


"I live in Newfoundland and have spent some time up on the coast whose environment and people she 'describes' and I can tell you that book is a bunch of malarky from page one," frankthefist wrote. "But one detail in particular made me angry. She has people put a Bible in an outhouse to use for toilet paper. Those people are particularly religious and tidy. The idea that they would use a Bible to wipe their arses with is too insulting to pass. The whole book is full of bullshit 'observations' that make a Newfoundlander's skin crawl. Typical Yank making it up to seem more real."



Sam Joridso, the Guardian, 22nd December 2011 click here for full review



About the author

Edna Annie Proulx (born August 22, 1935) is an American journalist and author. She has written most frequently as Annie Proulx but has also used the names E. Annie Proulx and E.A. Proulx.

Proulx (born Edna Ann Proulx, her first name honoring one of her mother's aunts), was born in Norwich, Connecticut, to parents of English and French-Canadian ancestry.

Her maternal forebears came to America fifteen years after the Mayflower in 1635.She graduated from Deering High School in Portland, Maine, then attended Colby College "for a short period in the 1950s", where she met her first husband H. Ridgely Bullock, Jr. She later returned to college, studying at the University of Vermont from 1966 to 1969, and graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1969. She earned her Master of Arts from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in Montreal, Quebec in 1973 and pursued, but did not complete, her PhD.

Proulx lived for more than thirty years in Vermont, has married and divorced three times, and has three sons and a daughter (named Jonathan, Gillis, Morgan, and Sylvia, a.k.a. "Muffy"). In 1994, she moved to Saratoga, Wyoming, where she currently resides, spending part of the year in northern Newfoundland on a small cove adjacent to L'Anse aux Meadows.


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Page turner







Age guide: 12






Novels by same author:







2001 movie directed by Lasse hallstrom starring Kevin Spacey, Judi Dench and Julianne Moore
























2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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