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, New York : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780062409201
Characteristics: 213 pages :,colour map ;,20 cm.


From Library Staff

“Readers fortunate enough to meet Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an old ex-soldier who makes a living reading the news to townspeople in 1870s Texas, and Joanna, the Indian captive he is charged with returning to her relatives, will not soon forget them. Everything, from the vividly realized Texas ... Read More »

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IndyPL_SteveB Nov 24, 2018

A short and intense historical novel, particularly well-written. Captain Jefferson Kidd is 71 years old. He has lived through three wars and fought in The War of 1812 and the Mexican War. He was a printer but debts from the war broke his business. Now in 1870 he wanders between small towns in Texas giving performances where he reads the news of the world from newspapers from Chicago, New York, London, Paris, etc. In Wichita Falls he accepts the responsibility of delivering a young girl, Joanna to her family near San Antonio, after she was kidnapped by Kiowa Indians, although he knows this will be a dangerous trip. But since he raised two daughters, he feels responsible.

And a dangerous trip it is indeed. The two are followed by a man who wants to steal the girl for prostitution. Raiders want their wagon and supplies. Perhaps most dangerous is Johanna herself. She identifies herself as Kiowa and is prepared to run away or kill someone at the least provocation. Captain Kidd must forge an uneasy friendship with her just to make sure they both survive. As he teaches her English and slowly “civilizes” her, mutual respect grows. The level of detail about the trip is fascinating and the emotional connection between the Captain and Johanna completely held my attention. The plot is fairly simple but the beautiful writing and the feeling of truth make it important.

AnnabelleLee27 Nov 01, 2018

A compelling and emotional historical fiction; simply and beautifully written with interesting, well developed, and memorable characters. A story with adventure, heart, and humor set in a place and time (1870s Texas during reconstruction) that is not often explored in fiction. Excellent!

Oct 08, 2018

A lovely book, very well written, descriptions made me see the locations. Great characters

apollospacefan Jul 22, 2018

Slower paced book with the fascinating scenario of a man in the later years of life connecting with a young Indian captive girl. They journey south through Texas to return the girl to her aunt and uncle's home, against her wishes and even understanding, while he reads "news of the world" to the towns along the way.
The writing style Jiles uses omits the usage of quotation marks, which is distracting for a while, but worth persisting.

Jul 18, 2018

Top notch! What a great book. Two spectacular characters. Wonderful prose. I would enjoy reading about Johanna and her adult life. Jiles is a master storyteller. I look forward to reading more of her work.

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.

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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


Add a Quote
Sep 14, 2018

Some people were born unsupplied with a human conscience and those people needed killing.
-Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd

cals_readers Feb 17, 2017

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


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