News of the World

p 98 “No. Absolutely not. No. No scalping. He lifted her up and swung her over the ledges of stone and then followed. He said, It is considered impolite.”

My usual fare does not include stories about Texas  – during any time period. So, when this title was highly recommended, I will admit to you that I picked it up out of respect for my friend. Her judgement proved sound. I love this tale.

In 1890 Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a lover of print and reader of news from far and wide, travels throughout the South stopping at sparsely populated towns to read “news of the world” for many a dime. During one of his readings, he agrees to take a 10 year-old white girl, who had been kidnapped and raised from an early age by the Kiowa tribe,  400 miles in a wagon across dangerous territory and return her “home.” At age 70 he is no stranger to sensing danger, as he served during two major U.S. wars, yet he warily accepts. For payment.

The story is the relationship that develops between these two strangers set against the backdrop of the oftentimes harrowing Red River, threatening mercenaries, and raised hackles by the presence of  U.S. Cavalry during this pilgrimage to San Antonio. This reads effortlessly as the narrative balances between history and fiction. A National Book Award finalist, any reader will benefit from immersion into this sometimes funny, tender, and always riveting novel.

Jiles, Paulette. News of the World. William Morrow, 2016.


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