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News of the World (2016)

by Paulette Jiles

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,3732035,210 (4.19)337
"In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember--strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become--in the eyes of the law--a kidnapper himself"--… (more)
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» See also 337 mentions

English (202)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (203)
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
Beautifully written, heart-wrenching tale with interesting characters throughout. But I especially loved the exquisite imagery of the land, rivers, trees, and all the weather they experienced along the way. ( )
  ninam0 | Jun 22, 2022 |
Update - watched the movie - the book was better! (now is that a surprise?)

Now I can watch the movie!

I'd say 4.5 rounded up to 5, and the .5 off would be for what I call the "dry" areas. Parts I skipped/skimmed, and/or some descriptions or areas that took me out of the story.

This is an intriguing book about a man, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who does a favor for an old friend in promising to transport a ten year old captive, Johanna Leonberger, taken by the Kiowa tribe when she was six, to her nearest relatives, an aunt and uncle in southern Texas. Her parents and sister were brutally murdered, and the aunt and uncle are her only known/living relatives.

Captain Kidd is gruff, but compassionate. In some ways, the dynamics of this relationship reminded me of the old classic, Heidi. As they travel along, he begins to try and teach Johanna English, and the Kiowa's lack of "r's" in their alphabet make for some amusing and laugh out loud pronunciations by Johanna. (Cho-hanna is how she said her name, and Captain was Kep-dun) Other words, blek-fiss, (breakfast) klepp yo honts (clap your hands) and "tlee!" for tree captured through Johanna's eyes her desire to learn, and please.

There were unsavory characters around every corner, some of them with diabolical intent and others who gave a sense of ne'er do well, but too dumb to be much of a threat. The Captain soon learned that Johanna was quite adept at taking care of camp life, could get the fire going in the little cook stove, and could load a gun. Much of the Kiowa customs and beliefs were shared through her experiences and interactions with the Captain.

The research was impressive, and items like a bull's eye lantern, a revolver known as a Slocum, dress skirts of "madder, and yellow carriage check," the readings from newspapers, journals, or articles purchased to the more rural populations were historically accurate.

At the end, in her author's note, Jiles recommended Scott Zesch's book, The Captured which she said was "excellent." I immediately bought it as I've always been intrigued by what are known as captivity stories. Decades ago I read Ride The Wind which is a fictionalized account of the abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker - briefly referenced in News of the World. A few months ago I read The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman.

I really enjoyed this one, and have Enemy Women by Jiles to read as well. Buying these two books (Zesch's and Jiles debut) is a testament to Jiles's talents not only as a writer, but as an authority on good literature. ( )
  DonnaEverhart | Jun 21, 2022 |
Liked it better than the movie which only loosely followed the book. Better insight into the characters and the social background of post-war Texas. Also liked the ending and how she described what happened to the characters after the trip ( )
  kbreader | May 2, 2022 |
meh ( )
  swbesecker | Feb 28, 2022 |
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has fought in three wars, starting with the War of 1812 when he was just barely 16. Now, in 1870, he travels across Texas bringing the inhabitants news of distant places. He reads from newspapers from Philadelphia to India to London, and steers clear of politics as best he can.

On a pass through Northern Texas, he is entrusted with a young girl, recently rescued from the Kiowa, after having been abducted four years earlier. Now ten, Johanna has no real memory of her family, doesn't remember how to speak English, and, if asked, would consider herself a member of the Kiowa nation. But nobody asked her. The Kiowa are giving up all of their captives under threat of raids, and Johanna's remaining family has paid handsomely for her to be shepherded back to their home near San Antonio. It's a long journey (handy maps in the endpapers of the book help the reader follow along) and one fraught with dangers.

The real story though, is what happens between Johanna and the Captain as they travel and begin to feel like family. Unfortunately, Jiles's spare writing style doesn't really do justice to the feelings she wants the reader to understand the characters are feeling.

As for the movie, it is similarly spare, giving it the same overall tone as the book. Several major plot points are changed, for what I'm sure were valid cinematographic reasons, but the overall story arc is the same, and being able to see the expressions on the characters' faces certainly helps in understanding the feelings that Jiles writes into her story. ( )
  mzonderm | Jan 26, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paulette Jilesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For friends on the long trails:
Susan, June, April, Nancy, Caroline, Wanda,
Evelyn, and Rita Wightman Whippet
First words
Captain Kidd laid out the Boston Morning Journal on the lectern and began to read from the article on the Fifteenth Amendment.
Quotations
Britt's own wife and two children had been taken captive six years ago, in 1864, and he had gone out and got them back. Nobody knew quite how he had done it. He seemed to have some celestial protection about him when he rode out alone on the Red Rolling Plains, a place which seemed to invite both death and dangers. Britt had taken on the task of rescuing others, a dark man, cunning and strong and fast like a nightjar in the midnight air.
Long bright crawls of water slid across the livery stable floor and took up the light of the lantern like a luminous stain and the roof shook with the percussion of drops as big as nickels.
A light drizzle drifted through the landscape of cranky post oak trees whose limbs did not have six inches of straight any of in them.
Then she seemed to struggle with a tangled thing inside her head, something knotted that would not unknot.
Above and behind them the Dipper turned on its great handle as if to pour night itself out onto the dreaming continent and each of its seven stars gleamed from between the fitful passing clouds.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember--strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become--in the eyes of the law--a kidnapper himself"--

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