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About Paulette Jiles
My website is paulettejiles.com. I review books and say shocking things and include outrageous pictures.
Paulette Jiles was born in Salem, Missouri, in the Missouri Ozarks. Raised in small towns in both south and central Missouri, she attended three different high schools, an exhausting process of social dislocation and fashion wobbles, and with relief graduated from the University of Missouri (KC) in Romance Languages. After graduation she worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto and in the far north of Ontario and in the Quebec Arctic, helping to set up village one-watt FM radio stations in the native language, Anishinabe and Inuktitut. She became reasonably conversant in Anishinabe but Inuktitut was just too much. Very hard. Besides she was only in the eastern Arctic for a year. Work in the north lasted about ten years all told.
She taught at David Thompson University in Nelson B.C. and grew to love the British Columbian ecosystems and general zaniness. She spent one year as a writer-in-residence at Philips Andover in Massachusetts and then returned to the United States permanently when she married Jim Johnson, a Texan. Has lived in Texas since 1995.
She and her husband renovated an old stone house in the San Antonio historic district and amidst the rubble and stonemasons and ripped-out electrical systems she completed Enemy Women. She now lives on a small ranch near a very small town in the Texas Hill Country with a horse and a donkey. If you want a free donkey, please let her know. She plays Irish tin whistle with a bluegrass group, sings alto in choir, rides remote trails in Texas with friends. Her horse is named Buck. News of the World (William Morrow) was a finalist for the National Book Award.
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“Meticulously researched and beautifully crafted.... This is glorious work.” — Washington Post
“A gripping, deeply relevant book.” — New York Times Book Review
From Paulette Jiles, author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Enemy Women and Stormy Weather, comes a stirring work of fiction set on the untamed Texas frontier in the aftermath of the Civil War. One of only twelve books longlisted for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize—one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards—The Color of Lightning is a beautifully rendered and unforgettable re-examination of one of the darkest periods in U.S. history.
Soon to be a Major Motion Picture
National Book Award Finalist—Fiction
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.
The critically acclaimed, bestselling author of News of the World and Enemy Women returns to Texas in this atmospheric story, set at the end of the Civil War, about an itinerant fiddle player, a ragtag band of musicians with whom he travels trying to make a living, and the charming young Irish lass who steals his heart.
In March 1865, the long and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now, twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to his slight stature, youthful appearance, and utter lack of compunction about bending the truth. But following a barroom brawl in Victoria, Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the Confederate Army. Luckily his talent with a fiddle gets him a comparatively easy position in a regimental band.
Weeks later, on the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. There the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can’t help but notice the lovely Doris Mary Dillon, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel’s daughter.
After the surrender, Simon and Doris go their separate ways. He will travel around Texas seeking fame and fortune as a musician. She must accompany the colonel’s family to finish her three years of service. But Simon cannot forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her again.
Incandescent in its beauty, told in Paulette Jiles’s trademark spare yet lilting style, Simon the Fiddler is a captivating, bittersweet tale of the chances a devoted man will take, and the lengths he will go to fulfill his heart’s yearning.
"Jiles’ sparse but lyrical writing is a joy to read. . . . Lose yourself in this entertaining tale.” — Associated Press
For the Colleys of southeastern Missouri, the War between the States is a plague that threatens devastation, despite the family’s avowed neutrality. For eighteen-year-old Adair Colley, it is a nightmare that tears apart her family and forces her and her sisters to flee. The treachery of a fellow traveler, however, brings about her arrest, and she is caged with the criminal and deranged in a filthy women’s prison.
But young Adair finds that love can live even in a place of horror and despair. Her interrogator, a Union major, falls in love with her and vows to return for her when the fighting is over. Before he leaves for battle, he bestows upon her a precious gift: freedom.
Now an escaped "enemy woman," Adair must make her harrowing way south buoyed by a promise . . . seeking a home and a family that may be nothing more than a memory.
From Paulette Jiles, the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Enemy Women, comes a poignant and unforgettable story of hardship, sacrifice, and strength in a tragic time—and of a desperate dream born of an undying faith in the arrival of a better day
Oil is king of East Texas during the darkest years of the Great Depression. The Stoddard girls—responsible Mayme, whip-smart tomboy Jeanine, and bookish Bea—know no life but an itinerant one, trailing their father from town to town as he searches for work on the pipelines and derricks; that is, when he's not spending his meager earnings at gambling joints, race tracks, and dance halls. And in every small town in which the windblown family settles, mother Elizabeth does her level best to make each sparse, temporary house they inhabit a home.
But the fall of 1937 ushers in a year of devastating drought and dust storms, and the family's fortunes sink further than they ever anticipated when a questionable "accident" leaves Elizabeth and her girls alone to confront the cruelest hardships of these hardest of times. With no choice left to them, they return to the abandoned family farm.
It is Jeanine, proud and stubborn, who single-mindedly devotes herself to rebuilding the farm and their lives. But hard work and good intentions won't make ends meet or pay the back taxes they owe on their land. In desperation, the Stoddard women place their last hopes for salvation in a wildcat oil well that eats up what little they have left . . . and on the back of late patriarch Jack's one true legacy, a dangerous racehorse named Smoky Joe. And Jeanine, the fatherless "daddy's girl," must decide if she will gamble it all . . . on love.
Paulette Jiles, the bestselling author of the highly praised novels The Color of Lightning, Stormy Weather, and Enemy Women, pushes into new territory with Lighthouse Island—a captivating and atmospheric story set in the far future—a literary dystopian tale resonant with love and hope.
In the coming centuries the world's population has exploded. The earth is crowded with cities, animals are nearly all extinct, and drought is so widespread that water is rationed. There are no maps, no borders, no numbered years, and no freedom, except for an elite few.
It is a harsh world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan. Growing up, she dreams of a green vacation spot called Lighthouse Island, in a place called the Pacific Northwest.
When an opportunity for escape arises, Nadia embarks on a dangerous and sometimes comic adventure. Along the way she meets a man who changes the course of her life: James Orotov, a mapmaker and demolition expert. Together, they evade arrest and head north toward a place of wild beauty that lies beyond the megapolis—Lighthouse Island.
The remarkable debut poetry collection from renowned bestselling novelist and Award–winning poet Paulette Jiles, reissued in a handsome A List edition.
Originally published in 1973, Paulette Jiles’s first collection amazed audiences with its rare depth of texture and verbal dexterity. Her work moves through landscapes that range from Africa to Mexico to Toronto with the ease of a travelling magician. Her swift, intricate metaphors leave the reader breathless, but her work also manages to be straight, earthy, vernacular, and disturbingly perceptive.
près de San Antonio, la jeune Johanna Leonberger. Quatre ans plus tôt, la fillette a assisté au massacre de ses parents et de sa sœur par les Kiowas qui l'ont épargnée, elle, et élevée comme une des leurs. Le vieil homme, veuf, qui vivait jadis de son métier d'imprimeur, profite de sa liberté pour sillonner les routes, mais l'argent se fait rare. Il accepte cette mission, en échange d'une pièce d'or, sachant qu'il devra se méfier des voleurs, des Comanches et des Kiowas autant que de l'armée fédérale. Sachant aussi qu'il devra apprivoiser cette enfant devenue sauvage qui guette la première occasion de s'échapper. Pourtant, au fil des kilomètres, ces deux survivants solitaires tisseront un lien qui fera leur force.
Dans ce splendide roman aux allures de western, Paulette Jiles aborde avec pudeur des sujets aussi universels que les origines, le devoir, l'honneur et la confiance.
Texas, 1870. All’indomani della Guerra civile, l’anziano capitano Jefferson Kidd, veterano di guerra e stampatore in pensione, si guadagna da vivere spostandosi da una città all’altra e leggendo ad alta voce i giornali per un pubblico pagante e affamato di notizie dal mondo.
Un giorno, a Wichita Falls, Kidd viene avvicinato da Britt Johnson, un nero libero che fa il trasportatore. Sul suo carro c’è una bambina di una decina d’anni, vestita alla maniera Comanche con una tunica di pelle di daino con quattro file di denti d’alce cuciti sul petto. I capelli sono del colore dello zucchero d’acero, con una penna d’aquila e due piumini legati a una ciocca, e gli occhi, azzurrissimi, di una bambola di porcellana.
A quanto ne sa l’agente che l’ha riscattata, si tratta di Johanna Leonberger, catturata dagli indiani quattro anni prima, quando ne aveva sei. I genitori e la sorellina più piccolo sono morti nell’assalto, ma ci sono dei parenti, uno zio e una zia, a San Antonio. Per cinquanta dollari, Kidd potrebbe affrontare un viaggio di tre settimane e riportarla alla sua famiglia?
Uomo d’onore, il capitano accetta, sapendo che altrimenti nessun altro aiuterà la bambina. L’incarico, tuttavia, si rivela ben più arduo del previsto. Nei quattro anni trascorsi con i Comanche, Johanna ha dimenticato la lingua materna e le buone maniere, non intende salire sul carro nè mettersi le scarpe, e tenta di scappare appena se ne presenta l’occasione.
Una volta avventuratisi nel deserto, in una terra ostile e crudele, popolata da ambigui e pericolosi personaggi, al capitano e alla bambina non resta che imparare a conoscersi e fidarsi l’uno dell’altra per sopravvivere.
Western mozzafiato, Notizie dal mondo è la storia di una toccante amicizia, un potente romanzo sull’universale sentimento dell’onore e della fiducia, al di là delle differenze di popoli e di culture.
«Il capitano Kidd entra a far parte di diritto del pantheon dei grandi personaggi western». Charles Frazier
«Notizie dal mondo è un delizioso romanzo sulle gioie della libertà, sull’avventura nella natura selvaggia di un Texas inospitale e sulla riconciliazione tra culture molto diverse». New York Times
Concluida la guerra de Secesión, el capitán Jefferson Kyle Kidd se dedica a viajar por el norte de Texas leyendo artículos de prensa a un público ávido por conocer las noticias del mundo. Les habla de presidentes y reinas, de luchas gloriosas, devastadoras catástrofes y apasionantes aventuras que tienen lugar en cualquier rincón del orbe.
El capitán Kidd, un viudo entrado en años que ha vivido tres guerras y combatido en dos, disfruta de su solitaria y desarraigada existencia cuando le ofrecen una moneda de oro por devolver a una niña huérfana que había sido capturada por los kiowas a sus parientes en San Antonio. El viaje al sur a través de cuatrocientas millas de inhóspito territorio va a ser difícil y peligroso. Johanna, que ha olvidado incluso su lengua, piensa en escapar apenas se le presente oportunidad y elude comportarse de modo «civilizado». No obstante, a medida que progresan en su travesía, los dos extraños supervivientes comienzan poco a poco a confiar el uno en el otro, forjando un vínculo entre ellos que, en tierra hostil, supone la diferencia entre la vida y la muerte.
New York Times Bestseller
«Noticias del gran mundo, nominada al National Book Award, ha sido comparada con la novela Valor de ley, de Charles Portis, y la película Centauros del desierto, de John Ford (el viaje de un hombre para «rescatar» a una niña blanca raptada por los indios). Kidd, el protagonista, ama seleccionar y agrupar artículos, oír los ahogados gritos de sorpresa de la gente y constatar el inmenso poder de la comunicación. Durante las horas de lectura de Noticias del gran mundo, ese poder se restaura como por arte de magia.»
JANET MASLIN, NEW YORK TIMES
«Los seguidores de Jiles y amantes de la novela histórica no deben perderse este western. El desenlace dejará completamente satisfechos a quienes quieran conocer el destino de sus queridos personajes.» WENDY W. PAIGE