Tuesday, December 06, 2016
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
News of the World by Paulette Jiles tells the story of Captain Kidd, a man who makes his living reading newspaper articles in post-Civil War Texas, and young Johanna, a girl who was kidnapped by Kiowa Indians and no longer recalls the languages or ways of white people. When Captain Kidd is offered a fifty-dollar gold piece to take Johanna to her relatives in San Antonio, he's in Northern Texas, near the Red River, the border between Texas and Indian Territory. He knows the journey will be long, arduous, and dangerous, but there's more adventure ahead of him than he imagines.
News of the World is a fairly short gulp of a book at 209 pages but it's the perfect length for the story. When Kidd meets Johanna, she's terrified and only speaks Kiowa. He's 70 years old, the father of two grown daughters who live far away, a widower. He understands young girls and is patient with Johanna. And, this is what truly makes the book. Not only is it packed with plenty of action but also a book with characters and a relationship that are utterly heartwarming. As Kidd and Johanna deal with the dangers of a lawless land, they slowly learn how to communicate with each other, trust is built, and by the time they reach San Antonio, you don't want their relationship to end.
Highly recommended - I absolutely loved News of the World and adored the characters. Excellent writing, often so lyrical that I found myself rereading sentences for the sheer joy of their beauty, perfectly paced, with wonderful characters. I loved the blend of history, action, and the building relationship. Without spoiling the ending, I will say that I found the way the book ended immensely satisfying. And, I can see why News of the World was a National Book Award finalist. Definitely a book I'll hang onto to reread, a story worth revisiting.
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