The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
4 April 2002


Just a few days ago I finally finished this interminable book. It was a triumph greatly aided by insomnia. I found it difficult to get into the story, and in the undistracting small-hour silence of the night I made much better progress with it than during the day.

The book started far too slowly and finished too fast. I am disgusted to recognise one of my own common faults in the early chapters. Instead of proving to us Quoyle's love for Petal, Proulx merely tells us of it and expects us to believe. However, the pairing is so unlikely that belief is difficult.

Nothing much actually happens during the story, but I don't mind this. I am not an adrenaline addict or action-TV watcher. However (that word again), the actual plot is unpleasantly reminiscent of Maeve Binchy. I believe I've metioned before my phobia of undereducated, sentimental, female writers.

I didn't like the constant use of minor sentences at the start of the novel. As the story got going and slid more easily into my mind, I noticed them less, but I still feel that they detracted somewhat from the story itself.

Not the best book I've ever read, then, but not the worst either. Undoubtedly a learning experience. I hear it's been made into a film.


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