Poetry Salon — Monday, July 11th, 10a.m. at the cottage of Erin and Nick
Bring a favorite poem or poems to share with others.
MacMahan Reads — Wednesday, August 17th, 10a.m at the Hamilton cottage.
We will discuss The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, winner of The
Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the Irish Time International
Thursday August 18th, 7:00p.m. At the Playhouse. Movie — The Shipping News, followed by a short discussion comparing the movie and the book.
The following is a review of the book:
Let me state at the outset that I am a Newfoundlander. I spent the first
38 years of my life on the island, cursing and loving the fickle weather, the
stark landscape and the smothering isolation.
Concurrent with life in such a place is a certain xenophobia. Part pride,
part fear, it tends to rear its head when someone from “away” decides to
tell us about ourselves.
Annie Proulx is a “come-from-away”, an outsider who came and settled for a
time in Newfoundland, then went away and brought forth “The Shipping
By that time I’d moved off the island, like so many of my fellow
Newfoundlanders. I left by choice to pursue a career opportunity, but it
was still a wrenching experience. Thousands of others have had no choice
but to leave, with the collapse of the fishery and the ensuing economic
hardships. For them, leaving Newfoundland is a heart-breaking decision,
because their loyalty to family and to the place is as fierce as a November
A few years after I heard about a curious new novel written by an American
and set in Newfoundland. So I read it.
As Quoyle made his inexorable if apprehensive way to Newfoundland I found
myself wondering whether I would recognize Annie Proulx’s version of my
Not only did I recognize it, I came to know it better. She had found the
poetry of the place, the brutal indifference of sea and stone, the soft
light and the muffling fog. And the voices of the people.
Not a word rang false.
“The Shipping News” is rich in atmosphere, populated by people I know. It
is a work fine in its observation and true in its telling. It’s what
Newfoundlanders would call a “fine yarn”.