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Rediscovered Reads Book Club | News of the World
September 25, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Please join us for Rediscovered Reads Book Club. We will discuss News of the World by Paulette Jiles.
NY Times review by Janet Maslin:
Paulette Jiles was a poet before she became a novelist. And it certainly shows. Her new novel, the 2016 National Book Award nominee “News of the World,” has invited comparisons with both Charles Portis’s “True Grit” (because it involves a girl on a long journey with an older man) and John Ford’s film “The Searchers” (because it involves a man’s journey to “rescue” a white girl who has been kidnapped by Indians, and also involves a long journey). But it’s more like Ms. Jiles’s own “Enemy Women,” an exquisitely written Civil War epic about a woman’s long march to find her lover, or any fiction by Ron Rash, another poet who chooses each word with expert precision.
Like Mr. Rash, Ms. Jiles writes books that bring the natural world to life and are also agonizingly eventful. Her story in “News of the World” is painfully simple. An old man, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, is content to make his living as an itinerant news reader in Texas until he is charged with a much more difficult mission. A white girl, about 10, has been “rescued” from the Kiowa Indians who kidnapped her and killed her immediate family four years earlier. Would he please take her down to the San Antonio region and return her to her closest living relatives, an aunt and uncle?
This comes at a very bad time for Captain Kidd. It is the winter of 1870, and he is busy spreading the news that the 15th Amendment has just been ratified, extending the right to vote to all men without regard to race or previous condition of servitude. “That means colored gentlemen,” he tells his audiences. “Let us have no vaporings or girlish shrieks.” He would much rather continue with this than take a strange little girl on a long journey. “I am astonished,” he says, looking at her. “The child seems artificial as well as malign.”
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