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The Book Club Reflection: 'The Shipping News' by Annie Proulx

Updated on June 11, 2010
Beata Stasak profile image

Beata works as a qualified primary school teacher, a councillor for drug and alcohol addiction and a farm caretaker for organic olive grow.

The Book Lovers Paradise

The ghastly unknown tinctured by thought of ancestors.
The ghastly unknown tinctured by thought of ancestors.
The Gaze Island. Your Father was shipwrecked there.
The Gaze Island. Your Father was shipwrecked there.
You strain your eyes until they stung and see nothing.
You strain your eyes until they stung and see nothing.
What secrets hide your family home?
What secrets hide your family home?
You hear the rut of the shore, the waves breaking on stone and  then a pair of smooth shaped rocks.
You hear the rut of the shore, the waves breaking on stone and then a pair of smooth shaped rocks.
Approaching your ancestor's house
Approaching your ancestor's house
There is a dead tree where the garden was.
There is a dead tree where the garden was.
The tree with a sharp thorns of your past.
The tree with a sharp thorns of your past.
Which way to go from there?
Which way to go from there?
It is time to leave the island of your past behind.
It is time to leave the island of your past behind.
How tall is your ordeal? Do you manage to leave your past behind?
How tall is your ordeal? Do you manage to leave your past behind?
Or the words unspoken and the things unseen will still haunt your dreams...
Or the words unspoken and the things unseen will still haunt your dreams...
Your old place, half ruined and isolated. The walls and doors of it pumiced by stony lives of dead.
Your old place, half ruined and isolated. The walls and doors of it pumiced by stony lives of dead.
The crushing waves of your unseen past. You struggle...
The crushing waves of your unseen past. You struggle...
until you reach the shore of your present.
until you reach the shore of your present.
Your children continue to fight the elements of natural and human forces.
Your children continue to fight the elements of natural and human forces.
Together you find your home among the rocks and waves.
Together you find your home among the rocks and waves.
Your ancestors' landing plaque.
Your ancestors' landing plaque.
There is always a dead tree in your way
There is always a dead tree in your way
and the threatening clouds on the sky
and the threatening clouds on the sky
There is false calmness
There is false calmness
when you reach the inhospitable island
when you reach the inhospitable island
The wind is picking up
The wind is picking up
Your first blowfish
Your first blowfish
Another ocean offering
Another ocean offering
A bird is flying above
A bird is flying above
Can you find your way back?
Can you find your way back?
The ship is coming to rescue you.
The ship is coming to rescue you.
The old jetty falls appart but people do not mind.
The old jetty falls appart but people do not mind.
A manta ray came to say 'Hello' or 'Good Buy'?
A manta ray came to say 'Hello' or 'Good Buy'?
Walk in a sunshine, when there is enough light...
Walk in a sunshine, when there is enough light...
Welcome to our Book Club
Welcome to our Book Club
A table is ready for you  in a corner
A table is ready for you in a corner
There is enough place for all of you...
There is enough place for all of you...
in our 'Book Lovers Paradise'.
in our 'Book Lovers Paradise'.

Our Worth is in the eyes of others.


Annie Proulx

rhymes with true

and her book:

'The Shipping News'

"What is it all about?"

I didn't have a clue.



After the first 27 pages,

I wondered:

" What kind of man

is the main character

Quoyle?"

Tall but soft.

A failure

to loneliness,

of normal appearance,

yet yearned

to be

gregarious.

" Which of us

does not?"




For his Father

he was just

a 'lout'.

His brother

called him names

and kicked him.

Thought

he was given

to wrong family

yet

their physical features

were the same.

" Do you feel sorry for him?"

Or you want to turn your face

away

in disgust

on his inability to fight them,

to raise above them.

" When you think

about

your own family,

how easy

is it to get away?"




I read more

and stopped

on the page 48.

Quoyle,

large and white,

was stumbling along,

going nowhere,

He found his first friend,

an all-night talker,

married a girl,

his first love,

she felt,

he is pulling her under.

She was pushing him over.

The armour of indiference

in which

he protected his marriage

was frail.

Quoyle believed

in silent suffering.

The greater the love - the sharper the pain.

" How many of us wish

for a fresh start,

and yet

we are too comfortable,

we want to believe

that

in the end

it will be allright."





His wife was killed

on the page 56.

He has two daughters,

Bunny and Sunshine,

and his auntie moves in.

The strong-willed woman

talks about their homeland:

" As you get older,

you find

the place,

where you started out,

pulls at you,

stronger and stronger."

They come to live

to the old place

of the Quoyles,

half ruined,

isolated,

the walls and doors

pumiced by stony lives

of dead generations.

Quoyle has the familiar feeling

that things were going wrong.

" How many times

you felt that

whatever you hoped for

never happened?"




On the page 135,

he learns about

his auntie's past.

He finds a new

love interest

and offers her

a ride.

His eldest daughter,

Bunny

is sensitive in a way

the rest of us aren't.

Tuned into things

we don't get.

She is a bit strange,

sometimes

and Quoyle worries about that.

" We are all different though

we may pretend otherwise.

We are all strange inside.

We learn how to disguise

our differences as we grow up.

Do you sometimes feel

that something original,

our true self,

we left behind

as we moved throughout our lives?"





On the page 144

Quoyle is thirty-six years old

and this is the first time

anybody ever said

he'd done it right.

" How desperately

do we need recognition

from others,

our own selfworth

is in other people eyes."




On the page 172

he found his pirate's

ancient family past.

He strained his eyes

until they stung

and saw nothing.

Uneasiness came over him,

that crawling dread of things unseen.

" What is more scary

than the ghastly unknown,

you hear the rut of the shore,

the waves breaking on the stone

invisible in the gloom of fog

or darkness of the night.

The ghastly thoughts

of unknown ancestors

will always haunt us."





The story ends on the page 248.

All the complex wires of life

were stripped out

and he could see

the structure of life.

Nothing but rock and sea,

the tiny figures of humans and animals

against them

for a brief time.

" How often

in dusk

of our existence

we realize

how unsignificant we are

on a big scale of life,

just tiny ants

scattering around

in a dust

for a piece of crust."





Quoyle was given a chance

to prove himself.

He learns about boats, cod fishing,

knots,

seal flipper pie

and love without pain.

He finds his way.

with the help

of the Demon Lover, the Stout-hearted aunt, Maids in the Meadow

and the Tall and Quiet Woman.

"The Book Club meeting

came to the end.

We looked at each other

with silent question in our eyes

hoping, wishing

that if/when

we stumble along

we also find someone

to help us up

and find the way out."





Annie Proulx

rhymes with true

I know now

what is her book

about.

"There will always be

a way out

as long as we find

new purposes

in our lives."













Comments

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    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      5 years ago from Western Australia

      Thank you, my fellow hubber, we are all good in our own way, believe me I can not create hubs in any other way, some people like it, others don't, but it is okey, none of us should sacrifice their uniqueness to please all....

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 

      5 years ago from Florida

      Nice hub sounds like a good book I like your writing you are so good and so are the photos.

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      6 years ago from Western Australia

      Thank you, tapasrecipe, loved that book too:)

    • tapasrecipe profile image

      tapasrecipe 

      6 years ago from Spanish tapas land

      Fantastic hub about a fantastic book, and such moving photos,

      thank you so much for the memory.

      Carrie.

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      6 years ago from Western Australia

      I feel honoured to receive such a praise from a fellow teacher, thank you and all the best with teaching and hubbing as well...looking forward to hear from you soon...

    • dkm27 profile image

      dkm27 

      6 years ago from Chicago

      Loved this book. Used the physical description of the main character to teach the use of visualization as a reading strategy. You've done a beautiful thing with this book. Thank you!

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      7 years ago from Western Australia

      Happy you liked them MrDot, they are from my endless travels up and down through this beautiful Great Southern Land...

    • mrdot profile image

      mrdot 

      7 years ago from New York, NY

      Nice photos.

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      8 years ago from Western Australia

      I loved it as well and thank you for visiting me:)

      Good luck with reading...all the best from Beata

    • 5institutes profile image

      5institutes 

      8 years ago from Nampa, ID

      Great poetic use of the language...and I have this book, loved the prose in it, haven't finished it yet...and I couldn't read all of your Hub once I realized it was a plot **spoiler** !

      Ah, well - great writing you have here. I'll re-read the Hub once I'm done w/the book. I do love the language in the book so far - easy to see why it's won a Pulitzer.

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      8 years ago from Western Australia

      Thank you for visiting me and hope you come again. All the best from Beata

    • profile image

      AARON99 

      8 years ago

      Great photographs with well informative hub. Keep it up.

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      8 years ago from Western Australia

      Thank you Jane for encouragement, I will try to write about every book we get if I found it interesting. Thank you for giving me an oportunity to be part of our Book Club. All the best from Beata

    • profile image

      jane 

      8 years ago

      Thanks Beata,

      You have captured the mood so well. Looking forward to reading future refections on our chosen books.

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      8 years ago from Western Australia

      I am happy you like the photos and also the book, it is worth reading it. All the best to you all. Beata

    • J. Andersen profile image

      J. Andersen 

      8 years ago from Minneapolis, MN

      Great photos!

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      It sounds like a very interesting Book. The pictures you posted are Gorgeous. I will definitely buy it if I see it. Thanks for an interesting Hub.

    • Beata Stasak profile imageAUTHOR

      Beata Stasak 

      8 years ago from Western Australia

      Thank you Lynda, I have join the book club which is new experience for me and this book was one of the first to read so it was delight. Thanks for coming back to see me. All the best from Beata

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 

      8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I loved The Shipping News, both the book and the movie version, which is unusual as most of the time, the movies are a disappointment. Glad you found inspiration in it, too.

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