News of the World by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles is one of five finalists for the 2016 National Book Award in the Fiction category. Established in 1950, the National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

news-of-the-worldTitleNews of the World
AuthorPaulette Jiles
Series: stand alone
Publish Date: October 4, 2016, William Morrow
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: provided by the publisher

Publisher’s DescriptionIn 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.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

News of the World by Paulette Jiles is a quiet, powerful book that uses spare language to convey incredible emotion. Jiles is a true poet with words in her narrative. For example,

“The lantern lit the million billion drops that came down in the colors of steel and ice.”

The reader knows instantly what kind of a storm is happening and how the characters feel about it.

I also think Jiles did an excellent job describing how living through war affects people as they age, but how young people are also affected as they try to discover who they are and how to be in their new world.

The title is a good choice because it’s not only about what Captain Kidd does—bringing the inhabitants of Texas news—but also who the Captain truly is, a messenger who brings information and sometime truth into the light. The title also speaks to the changes that are happening in America just after the Civil War and how those changes affect Texas and the rest of the frontier.

badge4v4I give this book a 4. I recommend it to others and especially to book clubs, since there are themes of settlement, aging, parenting of children not your own, lawlessness in the West, the intersection of Spanish, American and Native peoples in that corner of the world.

If you like this book…

…you might try other titles by Paulette Jiles, One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus, or The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict.

FTC Notice: This book was provided free in exchange for an honest review. This is no way impacts my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


About Agent Annie

I am a former Independent bookstore owner that created a 30 books in 30 minutes presentation for book clubs, libraries and avid reader groups. I specialize in short reviews that focus on plot, theme and discussion topics. I primarily read mystery/thriller, who-done-its and sci-fi/fantasy. I love stories in any format and will listen to an audio book as quickly as I would read a paper or digital version. I prefer books that make you think, don't have a predictable ending and tend to have some aspect that is outside the current norm. I tend to enjoy series once I am hooked on the main characters and the world and am very loyal. Some of the books I've enjoyed in the past are: Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear, The Dragon Riders of Pern by Anne & Todd McCaffrey and The Sherlockian Graham Moore. I will also read ANYTHING by Stephen King. As a matter of fact, I wrote a graduate level paper on the leadership styles in The Stand. I will accept review requests.

Posted on October 17, 2016, in Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: