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.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780062409201
Branch Call Number: FIC Jiles
Characteristics: 213 pages


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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.

AL_SARAHD Jan 17, 2018

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I found it predictable, full or plot holes and Jiles sadly missed the mark by a long shot.
**To see my Spoiler Alert laden post, see the Audiobook version of this title**

GCPL_Angela Jan 02, 2018

Very short, and a quick read, but it has more impact than you would expect from such a slim volume. While I was initially put off by the lack of quotation marks for the dialogue, ultimately I think that this choice gave the narrative a kind of immediacy and a greater intimacy with the Captain's perspective. While there are some lovely descriptions of the natural world as the Captain and Johanna pass through it, by and large the prose is direct and spare, which I like. The pairing of old man and young girl traveling together through rough country inevitably calls to mind True Grit, and the young heroine certainly displays an abundance of that characteristic. Caught between two worlds and destined to never truly belong to either, her existence in the in-between is poignant and haunting. (As Doris says, she is both "not-real" and "not not-real.") The bond forged between her and the Captain feels very genuine, and the ways they both help each other survive -- on a literal level but also on that deeper plane of the soul -- makes this story sing.

A lovely story well told. Check it out.

Dec 02, 2017

Recommendation from Leslie Kelsey: Post Civil War, a man makes his living by going from town to town reading newspapers. He agrees to return a girl kidnapped by the Kiowa to her people

Nov 21, 2017

For me, the major appeal of this gently told story was the way it captured a time and place in my mind. It was immersive and transporting. The story is told softly and slowly and I loved the idea of Captain Kyle Kidd travelling around and reading news from around the world to the people. It gave you such a visual snapshot of what was happening both in the U.S. and around the world in the time right after the Civil War. It was a short, undemanding and enjoyable read.

Nov 15, 2017

Jiles brings into focus the character of the various towns, colored by the cultures of the different immigrant communities. The personalities encountered on the road are well-drawn. It was easy to slip into the story, picturing the scenery, the settlements and the folks along the way.

HappyPuffin Oct 29, 2017

Jiles writing is sparse and beautiful, each word carefully choosen. I read the book while travelling in San Antonio. What a delight!

Oct 01, 2017

Well written novel about intercultural challenges in the latter days of the western frontier. Timely connection to our current fractured society.

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.

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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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