News of the World (audiobook)

A Novel

6.0 hrs • 5 CDs • Unabridged
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 06/20/17
Library CD Reissue
- 06/20/17 9781511356800
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An Oprah’s Summer Reading List Selection

A Washington Post Best Audiobook of 2016 Selection

A 2017 Selection for the ALA Listen List for Outstanding Audiobook Narration

Finalist for the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction

International Dublin Literary Award - Nominee

An Amazon Best Book of the Month for October 2016

A BookPage Top Pick for October 2016

An October 2016 LibraryReads Pick

National Book Award Finalist—Fiction

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings 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, forging 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. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Review Quotes

“Narrator Grover Gardner’s charming voice lends the perfect touch to Captain Jefferson Kidd…Gardner smoothly portrays Kidd’s sophistication as he eloquently reads the news to settlers for ten cents a listener…[and] tenderly portrays the ten-year-old’s resentment and gradual trust…Gardner’s unpretentious narration does justice to Jiles’ often exquisite turns of phrase and graceful depictions of the ethnically diverse American West.”


“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

“[An] exquisite book about the joys of freedom…the discovery of unexpected, proprietary love between two people who have never experienced anything like it; pure adventure in the wilds of an untamed Texas; and the reconciling of vastly different cultures.”

New York Times

“A seemingly ill-advised but transformative road trip…This could be a great plot for Disney movie, and there is even a cinematic showdown thrown in for good measure.”

“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

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

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A beautifully written story based on a real-life former soldier…[that] offers a remarkable look at the landscape, the era, and the powerful bond that develops between these two unlikely travelers…Highly recommended historical fiction that brings to life an overlooked period of Texas history.”


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

Library Journal

“Jiles delivers a taut, evocative story…with the smooth assuredness of a burnished fireside tale, demonstrating that she is a master of the western.”

Publishers Weekly