From the publisher: 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 that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
News of the World is a soft, slow-moving, meditative look at a certain time and place (Texas in the 1870s). I don’t know anything about this time in history, but it seemed well researched to me – at least, everything was believable.
This book is a western. There are attacks and shootouts. But action is not the main point; the relationship between the two characters is. I also really enjoyed the information about people who travelled around entertaining people with news stories from other places, and the nostalgia for newspapers and printing presses.
The native people are not treated as bad guys or as good guys. Nor are the white people. There are very bad men in the book, and good people as well. There are also people in the grey area between bad and good. The natives and most of the settlers are on the periphery of the story. The focus is on the aging Captain Kidd and his growing love for his charge, the kidnapped child Johanna.
News of the World has just come out as a movie starring Tom Hanks and I’m eager to see it now that I’ve read the book. I found the book overall quietly moving, and the characters of the Captain and Johanna very real. I recommend it to fans of contemplative historical fiction.
(On a side note, I am a big fan of the TV series The Mandalorian on Disney+, a western set in space. It is also about a lonely man and the child who comes in to this care. If you are also a fan and especially like that aspect of The Mandalorian, you may enjoy News of the World.)
The Galesburg Public Library owns News of the World in print, as an ebook, and as an electronic audiobook.