At thirty-six, Quoyle, a third-rate newspaperman, is wrenched violently out of his workaday life when his two-timing wife gets 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 all play a part in Quoyle's struggle to reclaim his life. As three generations of his family cobble up new lives, Quoyle confronts his private demons -- and the unpredictable forces of nature and society -- and begins to see the possibility of love without pain or misery.
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A vigorous, darkly comic, and at times magical portrait of the contemporary American family, The Shipping News shows why Annie Proulx is recognized as one of the most gifted and original writers in America today.