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News of the World: A Novel Audiobook, by Paulette Jiles
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Author: Paulette Jiles Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2020 ISBN: 9780063041554
4.83 out of 54.83 out of 54.83 out of 54.83 out of 54.83 out of 5 4.83 (2 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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Soon to be a Major Motion Picture

National Book Award FinalistFiction

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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As one might expect, the old man is tough but the little girl is tougher…Jiles…keep[s] her story quietly ironic and exquisitely particular.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Grover Gardner delivers a truly inspired performance in reading this tale of adventure, suspense, and drollery, some parts so funny as to make the listener laugh out loud. Gardner skips back and forth between Johanna and Kidd, capturing the tempo of conversation—of her increasing mastery of English and growing high spirits, and his occasional exasperation.”

    Washington Post (audio review)

  • “Reader Gardner proves yet again that he is one of the best voice actors in the audiobook industry today with his reading of Jiles’ evocative story of post–Civil War Texas. His deep, warm voice is such a perfect match for the character of the elderly widowed Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd that listeners immediately fall under his spell. Gardner’s rich vocal tones and his faultless timing of Jiles’s prose rhythms draw listeners quickly and deeply into the premise of the story and the lives of its characters.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred audio review)

  • “Lyrical and affecting, the novel succeeds in skirting clichés through its empathy and through the depth of its major characters.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Mining lush Texas history…this Western is not to be missed by Jiles’s fans and lovers of Texan historical fiction.”

    Library Journal

  • Finalist for the National Book Award
  • An Oprah’s Summer Reading List Selection
  • An Amazon Editor’s Top Pick of Novels That Celebrate Kindness
  • Finalist for the International Dublin Literary Award
  • A Washington Post Best Audiobook of the Year
  • A LibraryReads Favorites of the Favorites selection
  • On the ALA Listen List for Outstanding Audiobook Narration

Listener Reviews

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  • 4.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 5 Allison | 10/27/2017

    " The story of Johanna and her rescuer, Captain Kidd, is an important one of understanding, community and how quickly one may become an outsider. The whites vs Native American conflicts of the 19th century in Texas still resonate today. As Captain Kidd's seeming obligation to transport Johanna turns to loyal devotion, she in the end plays just as large a part in rescuing him. Very slow starting with exposition of characters before the action begins but well worth slogging through it. The narrator's dramatic reading enhanced the story for me. "

About the Author

Paulette Jiles is an author whose books have been an Oprah Pick, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and nominated for the National Book Award.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over a thousand titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.