‘The Shipping News’ Is a Psychological Thriller with a Hint of Magic

The Shipping News Is a Psychological Thriller with a Hint of Magic

Sage Hoffman

“The Shipping News” by E. Annie Proulx is a psychological thriller that follows the main character Quoyle as he moves with his daughters and aunt to Newfoundland following his cheating wife’s death. Quoyle meets a rich cast of Newfoundlanders who all play a role in helping him fight his demons, become his own person, and realize love can be without pain or sorrow.  

This book had delightful characters and an incredibly unique writing style. Proulx’s writing swallows you into the setting and keeps you in it. Her creativity shows in lines like, “Car Disintegrates on Remote Goat Path,” where she narrates through headlines. Proulx expertly crafts each character connecting them together with driving themes of family and loss, making even background characters feel incredibly real.

I also enjoyed her approach to dark themes, with comedy sprinkled throughout.

The story produced a satisfying ending. This book left me wanting more of the mystical side of the story. Magic is hinted at throughout the book. I personally wish we had more outlook on the mystic side of the plot, as it would allow for more discussion regarding the Quoyle family. The content of the book was digestible for me, but some may struggle with its themes at times. Throughout the story, sexual assault, death and abuse are ever present, haunting the people of Newfoundland.  

Overall, “The Shipping News” is a wonderfully crafted story. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark themes, great character development and a slow burn. Out of 10 I would rate this book a nine for great writing, themes, characters and development of these concepts.