News of the World: A Novel (Paperback)
News of the World is the post-Civil War story of the journey of a tough but elderly widower and the ten year old orphan and Kiowa captive he vows to return to her family.
Each word of Paulette Jiles’s writing is spare and concise with an achingly moving undertow. Of the many themes in this book, trust and honor among them, empathy rises to the top for me when thinking of innocent people, then and now, being ripped from their homes and thrust into cultures foreign to them without family, safety or hope. But there’s a silver lining in this story that may make you cry, as it did me. -- Susan, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin— From Staff Picks
T.H.U.R.S. book club selection, January 2018, Redbery Books, Cable, WI.— From T.H.U.R.S. Book Club
Men's Discussion Group selection, January 2018, Redbery Books, Cable, WI.— From Men's Discussion Group
October 2016 Indie Next List
“This short, powerful novel is historical fiction at its best! Captain Kidd, a 72-year-old war veteran and professional news reader, has been tasked with returning Johanna, a 10-year-old white girl kidnapped by the Kiowa when she was six and recently ransomed, to relatives living near San Antonio. The Captain knows the journey will not be easy but believes it is his duty to do the right thing, despite the dangers that lie ahead. What he doesn't expect is the strength of the bond that develops between him and Johanna, one so powerful that it defines the choice he makes at journey's end. Beautifully descriptive prose drives the narrative through the harsh and unforgiving landscape of the West during the late 1800s.”
— Adrian Newell, Warwick's, La Jolla, CA
Soon to be a Major Motion Picture Starring Tom Hanks
National Book Award Finalist—Fiction
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.
About the Author
Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.
“This Western is not to be missed by Jiles’s fans and lovers of Texan historical fiction.”
— Library Journal on NEWS OF THE WORLD