I just reread Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News to get ready for my trip to Newfoundland. Proulx’s writing is such a thing of beauty and she paints a vivid picture of Newfoundland for the reader. In her novel Newfoundland is depicted as a place with a bleak, harsh, unforgiving geography and climate populated with people who are tough but tender. They help bring new life to the main character Quoyle and his family. I am looking forward to discovering how the Newfoundland of today measures up to Proulx’s depiction and also to visiting Trinity where the movie version of the book was filmed.
The only other Newfoundland novel I know well is The Girl From Away by Claire Mowat which I used to read to my elementary school students almost every December. Andrea, a girl from Toronto who is experiencing big changes in her family goes to spend Christmas with her Newfoundland relatives. As my students and I read the book we learned about mummering and whales and fishing for a living, and some typical Newfoundland phrases and words. Just like the characters in The Shipping News have their lives changed for the better in Newfoundland so does the heroine of The Girl From Away. Andrea finds goodness and acceptance and optimism there.
I wonder what good things Newfoundland holds in store for me and I wonder what other good books set in the province I will find to read while I am there.