So here's the issue I find I have with books like The Shipping News (and it's the same problem I have with Gone With the Wind, which I love, and anything by Hemingway, whom I loathe): stick to your characters. I know, I know, The Shipping News won the Pulitzer, and I'm sure a zillion people will disagree with me, but I find myself so frustrated and, honestly, bored when a book takes a quick break from the lovely and complex, building relationships to __insert history of random Newfoundland way of life here__. Sure, it's interesting on some level. But stories about characters who will never appear again after these two short paragraphs, and aren't related in any way to the characters we're becoming so attached to, feels like being a wrenched from a fascinating, colorful world and being thrown, blindered, into a cardboard box. No sensory input, and wondering how on earth you got here and when you'll be let out.That said, I love Proulx's Quoyle, Wavey, and Agnis, and the rest of the Newfies. I just wish she'd have stuck with them more consistently.