News of the World: A Novel by Paulette Jiles

Set in Texas of the 1870’s, News of the World is filled with interesting and lesser-known historical facts of the time and culture but it is the portrayal of the evolving relationship between two unique characters that is the real core of this moving and beautiful novel.

Jiles is a gifted wordsmith whose descriptive prose creates vivid physical and emotional landscapes that you slip into effortlessly. At times I found the story so engaging I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, at other times I lingered over the imagery.

Captain Kidd, a 72-year-old retired army captain and former newspaper publisher travels to small towns in Texas to read news articles to local folks who are hungry for news from around the world. His routine is unexpectedly disrupted when he reluctantly accepts the task of transporting to her relatives a 10-year girl who four years earlier had been taken captive by an Indian tribe.  Although the girl doesn’t understand English she is shrewd, resilient and determined to escape and return to her beloved Indian family. The journey across Texas is filled with countless hostile encounters and it is during the long trek that their resistance to one another transforms into reliance and distrust into trust.

News Of The World is a subtle, yet powerful story about compassion and transformation.

Jiles could have drawn out the story, could have packed in more detail but she didn’t need to. It is near perfect as is!

–Sharon Gambin 
Former longtime Borders staff member who is enjoying semi-retirement while working as a part-time  bookseller at Literati

Featured in March 2018 newsletter