BookBrowse Reviews News of the World by Paulette Jiles

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News of the World

by Paulette Jiles

News of the World by Paulette Jiles X
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2016, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2017, 224 pages

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A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Paulette Jiles brings the landscape of late 19th century Texas to life in this novel long-listed for the National Book Award about an unlikely friendship that is formed between a former Civil War hero and a young abducted girl. 23 out of 25 gave it a 4 or 5 star rating.

Don't miss this rich historical fiction offering! (Bev C). News of the World centers around a 70-year-old man Captain Kidd, who carries news of the world to the people of Texas after the Civil War. Great premise in itself. He is a quiet hero, who is entrusted with returning a 10-year-old to her family. What ensues is an exploration of the history and cultures that made Texas (Pam L). Well-researched, filled with beautiful description and wry humor, the story is also highly suspenseful all the way to the Captain's terrible moral dilemma at the end (Dona H). I have found a new author to love! (Marcie M). This is a touching story filled with both humor and raw descriptions of Texas life. Every scene is described so clearly that the reader becomes part of the narrative (Marianne D). I remember enough of my Oklahoma and Plains Indians history courses to know the events ring true, related in such a way to have genuinely touched my heart (Pam M). Paulette Jiles has written a poignant story of learning to trust and, in the end, to love (Arlene M).

Our readers were captivated by the way Paulette Jiles crafted the rugged, raw landscape of Texas in the late 19th century:

This is a beautiful and spare novel. The landscape comes alive, as does the almost constant sense of desperation of being on the road during such dangerous times. The author has a true gift for description, we see, smell and feel the conditions the pair experience (Ruthie A). Top-notch author Paulette Giles…describes the beauty of the land with the eye of a true naturalist. Her prose is really lovely (Jeanne B). Jiles captures the feel of the Texas landscape, from the plains of north Texas to the Hill Country to the desert of San Antonio. Moreover, she writes a beautiful story of courage, acceptance, and love (Linda J). The beauty of unformed and wild Texas comes through in the author's stark descriptions of the landscape in every chapter, but as the leaves burst forth and the sun again warms the earth, the two travelers are also reborn and enter a new life phase. Highly recommended! (Sharon R).

Perhaps because of the strong visual components of News of the World, perhaps because the story is just action-packed with vivid writing, our readers are ready for this novel's movie version!

One of the most enjoyable facets of Jiles' writing is in its cinematic quality. This is a Western, albeit unconventional. What is it like to have to immerse yourself in a culture completely alien to what you are used to? A bond grows between two people who are unlikely to care for each other; how does that happen? I didn't want to see the novel end, the story of Judd and Johanna cries for more. I highly recommend this book, and will seek out other works by Paulette Jiles (Mary P-K). This book is a movie that should be made (Pamela F).

Finally, our readers recommend this novel to family – and everyone else!

Captain Kidd and Johanna will linger for some time in my recollections…I plan to pass this book along to my mother who currently lives in the Texas Hill Country which plays a prominent role in the story albeit quite unrecognizable but strangely familiar to today's Texas Hill Country (Kelli R). I would definitely recommend this to my sister to read. Thanks again for the opportunity to discover another author to love (Mary D). If you are interested in an unfamiliar view into history - this is a book for you. If you are interested in a familiar view into history - this is a book for you. If you are interested in unexpected moral complexities - this is a book for you. If you are looking for a book to suggest to your book club that offers a number of paths for discussion - read this book! (Carole A)

This review was originally published in October 2016, and has been updated for the June 2017 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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Beyond the Book:
  Late 19th Century Texas

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