Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. October 4, 2016.
Genre: Historical fiction, western, Texas history.
New of the World is a phenomenal story. Don’t be put off by its western or Texas setting. Consider this book on your next visit to the bookstore or library!
The year is 1870. The Civil War ended just 5 years before. Texas is suffering under the weight of the war and political climate.
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, age 71, is a traveling newspaper reader. He travels to various towns in north Texas reading newspapers. The readings are held in a town hall type meeting. People pay a dime to hear him tell stories of “polar exploration and scientific experiments. Captain knows what kind of reading material to read at the beginning of the event, and what to read to make the people bored and leave. In Wichita Falls, he is asked to take a young girl, Johanna, back to her nearest kin in central Texas. The girl is 10. She spent the past 4 years with the Kiowa people. Her parents and sister were killed. She was abducted and taken in by the tribe to become one of their own. She assimilated as a Kiowa, and does not remember the English language and culture. Captain has already lived a lifetime of wars, adventure, marriage, and family. He enjoys his current life. It is for the most part predictable.
He always recalled those two years with a kind of wonder. As when one is granted the life and the task for which one was meant. No matter how odd, no matter how out of the ordinary. When it came to an end he was not surprised. It was too good, too perfect to last. Page 24.
The Rangers smoked and waited in silence in the shadow of their hats. Their beards were silky because they were young but when you looked at their faces it seemed they were artificially aged in some way. Page 29.
Her faultless silence made her seem strangely not present. Page 33.
What I loved about News OF The World:
1. News Of The World is my kind of story. It is the kind of story to read aloud. It is the kind of story to curl up in my favorite chair with a cozy blanket. It is the kind of story I can’t wait to tell my best reader friends.
2. I loved reading this story aloud. The rhythm of the words and the rich expressions brought a nostalgia to me. I remembered those childhood stories where I was entranced by the descriptive language and larger than life characters.
3. The story creates just the right amount of tension to keep reading.
4. Jiles captures both Captain and Johanna perfectly. While reading the story I pictured both of them so clearly I swear they lived and breathed.
5. The unfolding relationship between Johanna and Captain. Captain has the ability to be firm and yet tender. He seems to understand her unusual ways. He has patience with humor. Both accept each other. If anything, he wants what is best for her, he wants to protect her, and he wants to make sure her future is secure.
6. I loved the dry wit from the characters. Some of the wit is so dry I had to pause and think if maybe they really weren’t trying to be funny.
7. I enjoyed reading the secondary stories. Stories of other people who’d been captured by Indians and later had to assimilate back with current culture standards. Stories of how people responded and treated Johanna, her different ways that seem odd and uncouth. I enjoyed reading about the people who lived in Texas during this era. Whether it was freed black men, young pioneer families, simple town folk, or a widow with a heart of gold.
8. It is rare for me to tear up while reading a story. The last few pages I had eyes filled with tears.