News of the World

News of the World

A Novel

Book - 2016
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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."--
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062409201
Branch Call Number: Jiles, P
Jiles, P
Characteristics: 213 pages : maps ; 20 cm


From Library Staff

In post-Civil War Texas, an aging itinerant newsreader agrees to take a child rescued from the Kiowa back to her people.

BostonPL_LauraB Sep 24, 2017

I liked this, but I didn't love it. That's the best description of this 3 star book. I bumped it up to a 3.5 for the emotions that it evoked in me with the last twenty pages, but otherwise it's a quiet, well-written novel, but it didn't "wow" me.

In post-Civil War Texas, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd makes his living traveling through isolated frontier towns bringing current news to paying audiences. He agrees to take on the task of bringing an orphan girl, who was kidnapped and raised by the Kiowa, back to her relatives in San Antonio, a 4... Read More »

A war-weary Civil War veteran, and a young girl kidnapped by the Kiowa and recently rescued by the U.S. army, form a bond when he undertakes the difficult and dangerous task of returning her to distant relatives in San Antonio, Texas.

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Jul 16, 2018

A full-hearted 5 stars! Best thing I've read so far this year. Paulette Jiles lets the reader get to know the two main characters incrementally as the story goes along and as the relationship between them develops and works its changes on both of them. That central premise, the complex relationship between an older man or grandfather figure and a daughter has proven powerful again and again for centuries --Dumas' La Dame aux Camélias, Wagner's Die Walküre: Die Opern der Welt, Shute's Pied Piper and obviously Gray's Little Orphan Annie come to mind. And Jiles exploits the idea to the full. In Johanna, we are presented with one of the most engaging and feistiest little kids to be found in literature. The tale is greatly enriched by its portrayal of a unique time and place -- chaotic, dangerous, corrupt post-civil war northern Texas, a land whose people have in short succession lived under the regimes of Spain, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy and finally the Union army and a horde of carpetbaggers. And all the while the last of the Indian wars was continuing. Happily, this is a book that more than lives up to its glowing reviews.

Jul 05, 2018

I liked this very much & find it sparks interest in further reading. It seemed realistic to me, well-researched & well-written.

Jun 20, 2018

A very quick read! Great tone and pace throughout. I agree, as some one said below, that there are some gaps in the plot. The ending sure does happen fast!!!! Either way, as another comment suggests, if you love Lonesome Dove, you'll enjoy this story as well. Captain Kidd continually reminded me of Captain Call. Definitely different characters, but I couldn't help but draw parallels between the two of them.

May 25, 2018

A most memorable little girl whose story will touch your heart.

May 17, 2018

“Captain Kidd” and “Johanna” are amongst my most memorable fictional characters, a metaphorical power over each other between the two. But I also have doubts on each lest they were discredited by author’s clever scheme.

The ending also appears to overstep from a folk lore trying to reach epic scale and please the mainstream readers.

I love the title and its meaning throughout the wars and “Captain Kidd”’s life with quiet tenacity.

Apr 17, 2018

With spare, but lyrical prose Jiles tells us the harrowing tale of a veteran of three wars (Kepdun) and the ten-year-old girl he signs up to return to her relatives in San Antonio. She was christened Johanna (Chohanna) and her Kiowa name was Cicada. Along their perilous journey Captain Kidd tries to keep them both alive and earn some money plying his current trade as a reader of the news. Captain Kidd has clarity in his role and the current anarchy around him and that could be the defining quality that will help them survive.

Mar 21, 2018

Loved it. If you like Lonesome Dove, you will love it, too.

Mar 16, 2018

A tale of building trust between an aging itinerant reader who agrees to deliver an
orphaned 10 year old torn between her native German-American and captive Kiowa
families. This post Civil War adventure set in northern Texas shows the growing bond
and growing need to rely on each other as they face each peril on their journey.
Reminiscent of a old western with a touching conclusion.

DBRL_ReginaF Feb 20, 2018

I read this for the Read Harder Challenge and it's not my normal reading. I had high hopes for this one since it's written by a woman. I was really hoping for something more that just the white male perspective.

Jan 31, 2018

"News of the World" is the first novel written by Paulette Jiles that I have read. I appreciated several aspects of her quiet and steady prose, namely, her ability to create intriguing characters, her light hand in weaving historical details into the storyline, and her measured approach in adding a few moments of sparkling insight into her initially mysterious characters.

The story introduces us to two interesting people, Captain Kidd, an older gentlemen riding the circuit to read news to paying crowds in the various northern and eastern towns of reconstruction era Texas, and Johanna, a ten year old girl who he reluctantly agrees to return to unknown relatives after she spent four years with the Kiowa, who killed her parents and kidnapped her. Just as the Texans they travel among are trying to adjust to the new post civil war order, Kidd and Johanna are each coming to grips with the changes in their families that have set them adrift, lonely and missing their loved ones.

Jiles is at her best as she paints a picture of Johanna, a creature torn between worlds and without the words or the maturity to adequately communicate her deep sense of loss. A less sensitive writer might have reduced Johanna to a string of jokes about her struggle to understand the non-native world around her, or might have gone too far in the opposite direction by over explaining her experience among the Kiowa. Rather Jiles strikes a balance between humor and pathos, that allows Johanna to come alive to us, as she is. We come to love Johanna through the steady regard that grows in Captain Kidd's heart for this defiant, plucky, and sometimes needy child. At the same time, Jiles deftly preserves the quality of otherness as described in the historical record by those who came back from periods of native captivity and by those who tried to reintegrate them into their original homes.

This is not a perfect book, sometimes the pace is lagging, sometimes the characters we meet on the way lack enough detail to make them meaningful or understandable. However, on the balance, I found the measured and confident writing, the depth of character development for Captain Kidd and Johanna, and the touching core of their struggle to return "home" compelling enough to stick through the slow spots. Ultimately, I am glad I did.

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Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Aug 27, 2017

infobetsy thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Aug 16, 2017

MIMS750 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

Feb 03, 2017

feralranger thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 11 and 99


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cals_readers Feb 17, 2017

Some people were born unsupplied with a human conscience and those people needed killing.


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