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The Shipping News | Chapter Summaries

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Timeline of Events

  • Childhood

    Quoyle grows up in an emotionally abusive home.

    Chapter 1
  • Adulthood

    Quoyle is a "loser" who lacks self-confidence and drive.

    Chapter 1
  • Marriage

    Quoyle marries Petal and has two daughters.

    Chapter 2
  • Abandonment

    Petal abandons Quoyle and their kids, but Quoyle gets the kids back.

    Chapter 3
  • Early 1990s, May

    Quoyle, the kids, and the aunt leave for Newfoundland.

    Chapter 4
  • May–June

    Quoyle hired to write for The Gammy Bird.

    Chapter 7
  • May–June

    Quoyle, Agnis, and the girls move into the old house.

    Chapter 11
  • June

    Quoyle buys a secondhand boat.

    Chapter 12
  • July–August

    Quoyle and Billy visit Gaze Island; Quoyle learns about his ancestors.

    Chapter 20
  • July–August

    Quoyle and Wavey become close, but their former spouses intrude psychologically.

    Chapter 24
  • September

    Quoyle nearly drowns when his shoddy boat capsizes.

    Chapter 26
  • October

    Aunt Agnis takes a walk and remembers Guy's sexual abuse.

    Chapter 28
  • December

    Nutbeem's boat is destroyed during his going-away party.

    Chapter 32
  • January

    Quoyle visits and meets his impoverished and crazy old cousin, Nolan.

    Chapter 33
  • Following January

    Quoyle is made managing editor of the newspaper.

    Chapter 35
  • March

    Quoyle and Wavey realize they have similarly painful experiences of love.

    Chapter 37
  • March–April

    A violent snowstorm and windstorm blows away the Quoyles' old house.

    Chapter 38
  • Later

    Using insurance money, Quoyle buys the Burke house; Agnis buys a workshop.

    Chapter 38
  • At the wake

    Jack sits up in his coffin; he did not die at sea.

    Chapter 39
  • Later still

    Quoyle and Wavey happily marry.

    Chapter 39

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapters 1–3 As the novel opens, readers are told, "Here is an account of a few years in the life of Quoyle." Quoyle, the story's p... Read More
Chapters 4–6 Quoyle, his daughters, Aunt Agnis, and her dog, Warren, take the ferry heading to Newfoundland. Quoyle thinks Aunt Agn... Read More
Chapters 7–8 Quoyle drives to the offices of The Gammy Bird, the local Killick-Claw newspaper. Tert Card, the managing editor, invi... Read More
Chapters 9–10 Quoyle goes to the office of Diddy Shovel, the friendly and helpful harbormaster. Diddy shows Quoyle two loose-leaf no... Read More
Chapters 11–13 Aunt Agnis has a new truck to help her with the house and her upholstery business. She tells Quoyle the old house is j... Read More
Chapters 14–16 Aunt Agnis opens her upholstery business in town. Quoyle is painting the girls' room as they play together with only a... Read More
Chapters 17–19 Quoyle is at work typing up his story about the Tough Baby. His words are flowing out of him, and he knows and feels t... Read More
Chapters 20–21 Quoyle goes with Billy Pretty in his boat to Gaze Island and is astonished every rock they pass in the water has a nam... Read More
Chapters 22–24 Mavis Bangs tells Dawn Budgel that Agnis was bold and calm when Melville's head was discovered. In contrast, Mavis say... Read More
Chapters 25–26 Quoyle meets Tert Card and Billy Pretty having breakfast at a restaurant. The weather is terrible, "moody" and "rough.... Read More
Chapters 27–30 Billy Pretty reports the drowned man Quoyle discovered is Bayonet Melville—the "Hitler yacht" man whose head was found... Read More
Chapters 31–33 Quoyle is writing a column about a ship that crashed into a rocky cliff. The ship's watchman had fallen asleep but was... Read More
Chapters 34–36 Quoyle and his daughters rent the Burke house in town. At work Quoyle reluctantly accepts Tert Card's invitation to go... Read More
Chapters 37–39 The March weather is terribly cold. Quoyle gets a call from Bunny's school telling him she knocked down a teacher. Whe... Read More
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