From The Ashley Book of Knots:
“To prevent slipping, a knot depends on friction, and to provide friction there must be pressure of some sort.”
After reading two books written in sweltering heat of Panama and Portugal (The Tailor of Panama and Declares Pereira) it was refreshing to feel the cooler climes of Newfoundland, especially when the outside temperature here in Georgia can rise to 40C.
Occasionally I find when I start a book that I have read it before. It happened with McCarthy’s Bar by Pete McCarthy and The Great Pursuit by Tom Sharpe. The story seemed vaguely familiar as did the illustrations of knots at the beginning of several chapters. Checking my records I found I first read this book back in 2011, whilst the plot may not have been the most memorable, the characters are rich and the writing sublime.
“the ocean, bruise grey under the strained wet light.”
Quoyle a middle aged newspaperman has never experienced much love or praise:
“Thirty-six years old and this was the first time anybody ever said he’d done right.” (p 183)
(after showing some initiative on the newspaper).
Quoyle moved from the States to his ancestral home, Newfoundland with his two young daughters and widowed aunt after his two timing wife was killed in a motor accident.
“The Shipping News” of the title is the section that Quoyle is required to cover in The Gammy Bird a strange local newspaper along with car wrecks. The Shipping News is about second chances, will Quoyle be able to make something of his new situation? Will he find redemption for his life of failure in this bleak land?
There is a whole cast of eccentric characters in Newfoundland, one of Quoyle’s distant relatives has gone crazy:
“The old man was mad, the gears of his mind stripped long ago to clashing discs edged with stubs of broken cogs.”
A possible weakness of the book is the character of Petal, Quoyle’s two timing wife, who seems too horrible and her manner of leaving them stretches credibility a little.
“I know something now I didn’t know a year ago,” said Quoyle.
“Petal wasn’t any good.And I think maybe that is why I loved her.”
“Yes” said Wavey. “Same with Herold. It’s like you feel to yourself that is all you deserve.”
Can Quoyle and Wavey start anew? You’ll need to read the book to find out.
My rating 4 out of 5