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News of the World by Paulette Jiles
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News of the World (2016)

by Paulette Jiles

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Showing 1-5 of 136 (next | show all)
The book was a National Book Award finalist in 2016. An historical novel that takes place just after the Civil War.

71 year old Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has lived through three wars and is a veteran of two of them. He makes his living going from town to town in north Texas to read the news to audiences of people starved for news from outside their area. They are willing to pay 10 cents to hear him read. As the story begins, Captain Kidd is asked if he would be willing to take a ten year old girl, who had been captured by the Kiowa when her family was slaughtered four years earlier, back to relatives in San Antonio. The family has offered a fifty dollar gold piece for the task. Against his better judgement, he agrees to the dangerous task, which will take them hundreds of miles through hostile territory. The child has become a native in every sense of the word, and has no desire to be taken from the Kiowa, the only family she knows. As the story progresses, the pair develop a bond that gets them through the journey.

I enjoyed this short book (about 200 pages), it reminded me a little bit of True Grit or maybe of parts of One Thousand White Women. I thought it was well written, although I would like to have seen the ending developed a bit more. It felt a little rushed at the end. Even so, I think it was worth the read.

Read March 2018 ( )
  NanaCC | Dec 31, 2018 |
The time is 1870 and the location is the Texas territory following the Civil War. Texas is still a wild unsettled area of the United States and it is home to settlers, bandits, and Indians. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is an elderly gentleman who travels the territory making stops in the many towns to hold a reading of the many newspapers he carries with him. In his visit to one of the northern towns, he is asked to return a ten-year-old girl who was captured and kidnapped by the Kiowa tribe to her relatives in San Antonio many miles to the south.

He agrees and their adventures begin. They meet natural and human obstacles as they make their long journey through the rugged Texas territory heading south. Along the way, the Captain and the girl, Johanna get acquainted with one another and they begin to form a curious relationship. The Captain attempts to teach her how to live again as a proper white girl for in the years since she was kidnapped she has only known the Kiowa language and life.

The novel not only offers a plethora of historical information, but it is also a touching tale of love and bonding between two exceptionally different individuals. The good in the book outweighs the evil. The kindness and gentleness override the brutality and treachery.

The descriptive narrative transported me to the trail with Captain and Johanna even though I did at first have difficulty adjusting to the lack of quotation marks for the conversations in the book. The book is not very long but what it lacks in length it makes up for in quality. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
This is a short, quiet novel. Set in Texas following the Civil War, Captain Kidd must deliver a ten year old girl who had been captured by the Kiowa to her aunt and uncle. The story details their journey through Texas as the captain teaches the girl how to fit into society again and they grow attached to each other. Beautiful writing and lovely story. ( )
  redwritinghood38 | Nov 6, 2018 |
Maybe Westerns are becoming a thing with me? First Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, then Glendon Swarthout’s The Homesman, and now this.

I fell in love with these two characters and thought the development of their relationship was realistic and pitch-perfect. ( )
  ParadisePorch | Oct 16, 2018 |
News of the World

A beautifully written story of courage and the endearing bond developed between two memorable characters

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SUMMARY
In the aftermath 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. The Captain enjoys his rambling solitary existence. In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan, Johanna to her relatives in San Antonio. Johanna‘s parents and sister had been killed by a band of Kiowa four years earlier. Johanna was spared and the Kiowa raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. Army, the 10-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

The Captain and Johanna set off on a four hundred mile journey south through unsettled territory and dangerous terrain. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, 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. Arriving in San Antonio, Joanna’s family reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The Captain must hand Joanna over to an aunt and uncle who view her as an unwanted burden. Captain Kidd is heartbroken about having to abandon this girl to her uncaring relatives.

“Maybe life is just carrying news. Surviving to carry the news. Maybe we have just one message, and it is delivered to us when we are born and we are never sure what it says; it may have nothing to do with us personally but it must be carried by hand through a life, all the way, and at the end handed over, sealed.”

REVIEW
NEWS OF THE WORLD is an unforgettable historical fiction novel of courage and responsibility. It’s full of suspense and danger as the Captain and Johanna journey onward. A respectful and dignified emotional bond develops between these two valiant travelers as they learn to depend on each other to survive.

The Captain had to reacquaint Johanna with civilized behavior—language, manners and morals—and he did so with the utmost patience and understanding. One of my favorite lines was when Johanna was about to collect a White man’s scalp, the Captain had to explain to her that this “is considered impolite and simply isn’t done.” The novel showcases these two well-drawn characters with which you can’t help but become enamored. The writing is both affecting and thought-provoking. The setting, characters and story blend perfectly to transport you to another place and time.

One of the most fascinating parts of the book was learning about the traveling News Readers and the importance of the news in the post civil war era. In his travels, Captain Kidd would gather newspapers and carefully select the news from far away places that he would read to inform and entertain his paying audiences.

The National Book Award for Fiction and the Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction were just two of the several awards author PAULETTE JILES received for NEWS OF THE WORLD in 2016. JILES Lives in San Antonio, Texas and is a poet and memoirist. Her best-selling novels included Enemy Women and Stormy Weather.

“Life was not safe and nothing could make it so, neither fashionable dresses nor bank accounts. The baseline of human life was courage.”

Publisher William Morrow
Published October 4, 2016
Narrator Grover Gardner
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Oct 6, 2018 |
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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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"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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