Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

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The Shipping News Movie and Book Quotes

The shipping newsTo me this weekend is about shopping and watching movies. We chose three on a TV station we discovered. By far, the best one was The Shipping News, a 2001 drama film based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Annie Proulx.

Several great actors are in the film:

Kevin Spacey is the protagonist Quoyle (no first name). He won a Golden Globe award for best actor in this movie.

Julianne Moore is Wavey Prowse, the town teacher.

Judi Dench plays  Quoyle’s Aunt Hamm (sister to Quoyle’s abusive father).

Cate Blanchett as Petal, is an unusual role for Blanchett. She is Quoyle’s first love and mother to their child, Bunny. (In the book there are two daughters.)

Quoyle drives the story forward and as the hero-figure, undergoes the most change. After a couple tragic events, his Aunt Hamm convinces him to move with her to Newfoundland where  Quoyle’s ancestors lived. Aunt Hamm, as the opposite in personality to her nephew,  is a catalyst for Quoyle to overcome his fear of water and the grief of losing his wife and parents.

The family house in Newfoundland needs repairs. Quoyle says, “We can’t live here.” But Aunt Hamm hires a local young man to fix it up. Bunny, the child about ten years old, is in tune with the house. She knew the Quoyles moved it by dragging it across the ice. It is wired down so it won’t fall off the cliff and Bunny says, “The house is sad.”

A stranger walking at night with a white dog  is a symbol of past generations haunting the new generation.  Bunny is instinctively responsible for breaking the chain of evil perpetration in their family’s history.

Quotes from The Shipping News by Annie Proulx:

“It’s easier to die if others around you are dying.”

“It takes a year, nephew…a full turn of the calendar, to get over losing someone.”

“One of the tragedies of real life is that there is no background music.”

“What we fear we often rage against.”

“You know, the Chinese have forgotten more about sailing than the rest of the world ever knew.”

“If a piece of knotted string can unleash the wind and if a drowned man can awaken…then I believe a broken man can heal.”

“The house was heavy around him, the pressure of the past filling the rooms like odorless gas.”

“By January it had always been winter.”

This movie inspired me to read books by Annie Proulx. Have you seen or read The Shipping News?

If you are an Annie Proulx fan, which is your favorite of her novels?

The shipping news pulling house

The Shipping News Movie


  1. I loved and hated this movie that depicts both good and bad in the characters portrayed, both past and present. Thankfully there is a pause button so I could run to the necessary and get more firewood. I stumbled across the movie looking for Judy Dench. Definitely worth the Pulitzer Prize!

    I think I might have to bring in some more firewood and watch it again!

  2. ladywinfred says:

    LOVED the movie, have watched it several times and plan to watch it again now that it’s streaming on Netflix. I THINK I’ve read the book, but darned if I can remember for sure. I know I did read her collection of short stories, Close Range-Wyoming Stories, one of which was Brokeback Mountain. We all know how far that little story sailed!!

    • I’m glad I discovered her through this movie. I’ll have to buy her other books. Pulitzer Prize winner for sure.

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