Friday, February 26, 2010

Book 24: First Impressions.


I'm not sure what to think.

I am currently about 50 pages into The Shipping News and I am not really sure what I am thinking.

I was expecting some great things, considering this is a rather new novel (1993) and is already being considered a "classic" on some lists, so why do I feel like I have nothing to say?

Sure, the book is interesting, but I am still waiting to be bowled over with an amazing story.

So far, I have gotten this: Quoyle is a large man who not really bright. He falls in love with a loose woman and has two kids with her. She hates her kids and often abandons them. He works for a newspaper, even though he has no knowledge of writing.

That's about it. And I am feeling like I am missing something. Perhaps I am not far enough into the book to be grabbed yet by the story. I am enjoying the writing. Obviously, I know that a main part of the novel is the fact that Quoyle works for a newspaper. Some of the writing seems written in that short, choppy style that I associate with news articles. So that, in and of itself, is interesting.

I also like the characters...except Quoyle. To me, it seems as if Quoyle is just going through the motions of life and I am finding it hard to like him. I do like his crazy aunt and his daughters, and some of the other minor characters, but I hope he grows on me, because right now I think he's an idiot.

The structure of the novel is also different. Each chapter is titled with a type of nautical knot and a short excerpt from a book of knots always follows. The chapter is always related to the knot and the description, which really adds a lot of depth.

Anyway, I am going to keep plowing through in hopes that Quoyle begins to amaze me.


  1. I'm always skeptical of books being billed as 'modern classics'! I saw the movie adaptation of this years ago, and I can't remember a thing about it. Which probably isn't a good sign. Anyway, I hope the book picks up for you. ;)

  2. Good luck with that. I too saw to film adaptation, and I barely remember it at all, I definitely don't remember enjoying it. I can vaguely picture the bloke who played the main character, he was blond wasn't it he?

    Anyway, I haven't read this, but already it sounds like maybe I should give it a miss.

    Sometimes I think though that when you hear so many good things about a book, you can get all excited about it, and then it doesn't meet your expectations because they have become too high

  3. Oh gosh...I hope this book starts to speak to you! It's hard to read and appreciate a book if it fails to reach you on some level... :)

  4. I concur with Melissa's comments. If the book isn't speaking to you then I wouldn't push myself to read it! I did enjoy this one but maybe it was just the right book at the right time.