Wednesday, January 25, 2023

News of the World by Paulette Jiles


News of the World by Paulette Jiles is a novel that had been in my 'to be read' pile for a number of years, until this year. I am happy that I finally decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of News of the World by Paulette Jiles and narrated by Grover Gardner.

I'd heard many great things about News of the World from other readers and of course, that this novel was a National Book Award Finalist for fiction... But I wasn't sure if I'd like it due to the hype and the fact that westerns are generally not my go to genre.

Let's just say that I was pleasantly surprised by News of the World. It's very well narrated by Grover Gardner. I enjoyed the main character, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, the best. I also liked the other main character of Johanna as well, however not as much as the character of Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd. The characters and storyline were both well developed in News of the World and this novel contains a very tidy ending.

Listening time for News of the World by Paulette Jiles is 6 hours, 42 minutes.

Below is the summary for News of the World by Paulette Jiles from Goodreads:

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.
I am giving News of the World by Paulette Jiles a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. Funny - I could have sworn that I read this book, but I guess I just saw the excellent film adaptation with Tom Hanks. It certainly made a lasting impression on me.

    1. I've been meaning to watch the movie version of News of the World, but wanted to wait to do so until after I'd read the novel. Good to know that the movie version is well done.