from my bookshelf: the shipping news by annie proulx


quoyle is a lonely and insecure 36-year-old man. he thinks his life is complete when he falls in love with and marries is first wife. instead, he finds himself in a painful and dysfunctional marriage. early on his in the story, quoyle is left with their two daughters and the help of his aunt. looking for a fresh start, the four of them travel to newfoundland, the homeland of their ancestors. there, quoyle works as a local reporter and becomes part of a team of men with deep roots in the small town. as quoyle becomes familiar with his new home, he navigates heartbreak, parenting, and acceptance that love doesn’t have to hurt so much.


“A spinning coin, still balanced on its rim, may fall in either direction.”

“And she was with him again, Petal, like a persistent song phrase, like a few stubborn lines of verse memorized in childhood. The needle was stuck.”

“Thirty-six years old and this was the first time anybody ever said he’d done it right.”

“The long horizon, the lunging, clotted sea like a swinging door opening, closing, opening.”

“He felt that nameless pleasure that comes only with a fine day on the water.”

“A sense of purity renewed, a sense of events in trembling balance flooded him. Everything, everything seemed encrusted with portent.”

“Their silence comfortable. Something unfolding. But what? Not love, which wrenched and wounded. Not love, which came only once.”

“Quoyle experienced moments in all colors, uttered brilliancies, paid attention to the rich sound of waves counting stones, he laughed and wept, noticed sunsets, heard music in rain, said I do.”

“And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”