It took about a hundred pages before I got used to the language. It runs along strangely like the strange rugged coast Proulx describes and at times floats like the vicious sea. Sometimes the sentences are quick. And fast. While other poignant, image-filled sentences, roll on, comma after comma, like the waves crashing over the shore, or the open ocean rising and falling. The structure of her words match her well-constructed allusions and characterization of Newfoundland.
I did not expect to like the book because I wasn’t fussy about the movie when I finally got around to watching it. I know I’m extremely late to the party on this book after all the hype in Newfoundland during the filming and the myriad of awards that came even earlier. Nonetheless, this was quite a read.
If I wasn’t from Newfoundland, I would never be brave enough to attempt a visit after devouring this novel.
It certainly appeals to Northrop Frye’s garrison mentality in every way. It’s all about survival and highlights the protectionist views of true small town citizens. In that way, it’s a perfect depiction of the greater cannon of Canadian Literature. The Shipping News applies so perfectly to garrison mentality it’s almost a stereotypical appeal to the conventions of Canadian Lit. If it wasn’t so racy and occasionally vulgar it would be a great selection for high school English classes.
With this book read, I’m halfway through the reading challenge.