News of the World

News of the World

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"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."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, c2016.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780062409201
0062409204
Call Number: JILES
Characteristics: 213 p. ; 20 cm.
Subjects: Historical fiction.
United States -- History -- 19th century -- Fiction.
Kiowa Indians -- Fiction.
Orphans -- Fiction.
Widowers -- Fiction.
Voyages and travels -- Fiction.

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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 p... Read More »


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d
DBoone
May 25, 2018

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

x
xiaojunbpl12
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.

d
darladoodles
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.

l
legadillo
Mar 21, 2018

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

o
orange_lobster_23
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.

m
MelissaBee
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.

ArapahoeSarahD 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.

s
saracsmith
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

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MelissaBee
Jan 31, 2018

MelissaBee thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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infobetsy
Aug 27, 2017

infobetsy thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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MIMS750
Aug 16, 2017

MIMS750 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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feralranger
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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