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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

Review: News of the World

News of the World: A Novel - Paulette Jiles

News of the World is a story about the way two very different people can change one another. It's a simple story—in fact, an old and familiar one—about a young girl who was captured by a Native American tribe and now is being forced to return to her old life. There's nothing new or surprising about this story, but it is told with such care and attention to details that the too familiar story has been given a fresh coat of paint.

The best part of this story is perhaps the details of Captain Kidd, a very old man who travels the country reading newspapers at public gatherings. It's such a fun idea for a character, giving readers a unique view of the time and steering far from the expected chaperone—an army general or a sheriff.

I'm a little surprised that this book was a National Book Award finalist. It's good. It's entertaining. But it never struck me as something particularly special. It's definitely one I would recommend to anyone looking for a fairly light, historical novel.