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Simon the Fiddler: A Novel
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HarperCollins 2020
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Description

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

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
04/14/2020
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062966766
ASIN:
B07V9HHT9H

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APA Citation (style guide)

Paulette Jiles. (2020). Simon the Fiddler: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Paulette Jiles. 2020. Simon the Fiddler: A Novel. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Paulette Jiles, Simon the Fiddler: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2020.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Paulette Jiles. Simon the Fiddler: A Novel. HarperCollins, 2020.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Added:
Apr 15, 2020 14:58:42
Date Updated:
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        Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, Simon the Fiddler, and News of the World, which was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, Texas.

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Simon the Fiddler
fullDescription

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

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Times
      • content:

        "The reader is treated to a kind of alchemy on the page when character, setting and song converge at all the right notes, generating an authentic humanity that is worth remembering and celebrating." — New York Times

        "Jiles' sparse but lyrical writing is a joy to read. . . . A beautifully written book and a worthy follow-up to News of the World." — Associated Press

        "Imbued with the dust, grit, and grime of Galveston at the close of the Civil War, Simon the Fiddler immerses readers in the challenges of Reconstruction. Jiles brings her singular voice to the young couple's travails, her written word as lyrical and musical as Simon's bow raking over his strings. Loyal Jiles readers and fans of Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See and Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge will adore the author's latest masterpiece." — Booklist (starred review)

        "Luminescent prose. . . . Jiles' timeworn territory provides a cozy escape. — Los Angeles Times

        "Endearing . . . And when the final battle royal arrives in San Antonio, it's just the rousing ballad we want to hear." — Washington Post

        "Jiles's limber tale satisfies with welcome splashes of comedy and romance." — Publishers Weekly

        "Vividly evocative and steeped in American folkways: more great work from a master storyteller." — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

        "In Simon the Fiddler we once again accompany a cast of intriguing characters on a suspenseful Texas-based quest just after the Civil War. . . . A crackling-good adventure tale." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

        "[Jiles's] description of Simon and Doris traveling on separate journeys across the Texas landscape is superb, causing us to feel the elation and sense of possibility that rises in the hearts of man, woman and beast in setting out on the road." — Wall Street Journal

        "Beautifully told with lyrical descriptions, the novel illuminates the everyday struggles of the era." — Christian Science Monitor

        "Jiles makes Texas in the 1800s hot and palpable for her readers, edgy and lawless, but the story also sings with melody." — Book Trib

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        February 1, 2020
        Jiles follows up National Book Award finalist News of the World (2016, etc.) with another atmospheric adventure in post-Civil War Texas. During his few reluctant months in the Confederate Army, Simon Boudlin's main concerns are staying alive and protecting his precious fiddle so that after the war he can make enough money to buy some land and settle down with the right woman. He sees her after his unit surrenders, at a dinner for the officers: Doris Dillon is an Irish indentured servant to Yankee Col. Webb, and by the time Simon learns her name he already knows that Webb is an arrogant SOB who mistreats the help and is nasty to musicians. That's the last Simon sees of Doris for more than a year, as he forms a band with fellow veterans (three of the novel's many deft characterizations) and they play their way across Texas, technically under military rule but mostly in a state of near anarchy; the musicians' gigs, brilliantly captured in Jiles' quiet but resonant prose, are as likely to end in a brawl as with applause. Simon and his mates bunk down in stolen boats and shelled-out buildings that make visible the cost of war, but magnificent descriptions of their travels make palpable the varied beauty of the landscape, from East Texas pines to the banks of the Nueces River, where Simon plays at a wild Tejano wedding and finally has enough money to buy his dreamed-of land. He's been in touch with Doris via letters supposedly from his Irish-American drummer, Patrick, who helpfully invents some shared relatives, and is making his way toward San Antonio to rescue his beloved, who's finding it increasingly difficult to evade Webb's determined advances. The pace picks up and tension rises after Simon reaches San Antonio; there are some menacing moments, but clever plotting has laid the groundwork for a happy ending with just enough hints of potential troubles ahead to remain true to Jiles' loving but cleareyed portrait of Texas' vibrant, violent frontier culture. Vividly evocative and steeped in American folkways: more great work from a master storyteller.

        COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 17, 2020
        Jiles’s gritty and richly atmospheric seventh novel returns to the post–Civil War Texas she explored in News of the World. In the last year of the war, 23-year-old Simon Boudlin, an orphan musician from Kentucky who has avoided a stint in the Confederate Army, is rounded up by a couple of conscription men. After the war concludes, his body and fiddle still relatively intact, Simon and some friends are commissioned to play for a formal dinner for Confederate and Union officers at Fort Brown, Tex. There he is dazzled by Doris Dillon, the Irish governess for Colonel Webb of the Union Army, and determines that he will somehow buy some land and make her his bride. Simon and Doris trade letters over the next couple of years as he and his friends become “creatures of gaslight and shadows,” traveling around coastal Texas for stray saloon gigs, and Doris works off her indentured servitude for the Webbs in San Antonio and fends off unwelcome advances from the colonel. When Simon finally makes his way to Doris, trouble ensues. Jiles immerses the reader in the sensory details of the era, with special emphasis on the demands and rewards of a ragtag Texas fiddle band. Jiles’s limber tale satisfies with welcome splashes of comedy and romance.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from February 1, 2020
        After leaving a Confederate regimental band, Simon Boudlin finds himself in Texas with the twin goals of buying land and courting Doris Dillon, a young Irish governess. After catching Doris's eye at one of the band's last outings, Simon lands in Galveston while Doris continues her service to a colonel's family. The Civil War wasn't particularly kind to Simon, but starting a new band with other displaced musicians hasn't been easy, either. After scraping together enough paying gigs to keep themselves clothed and fed, the band begins to land a few higher-paying jobs. When an appealing piece of property catches Simon's attention, he begins a mission to capture Doris' heart, settle down, and continue his musical career. Imbued with the dust, grit, and grime of Galveston at the close of the Civil War, Simon the Fiddler immerses readers in the challenges of Reconstruction. Jiles (News of the World, 2016) brings her singular voice to the young couple's travails, her written word as lyrical and musical as Simon's bow raking over his strings. Loyal Jiles readers and fans of Anthony Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See (2014), and Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge (2008) will adore the author's latest masterpiece.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        November 1, 2019

        Throughout the Civil War, wispy, unpunctilious Simon Boudlin has avoided conscription, but a barroom brawl in Texas lands him in the Confederate Army just as the fighting wanes. An expert fiddler, he's assigned to the regimental band and ends up playing for officers from both sides on the eve of Confederate surrender. There he spots Doris Mary Aherne, an indentured Irish girl who serves as governess to a Union colonel's daughter, and he swears he will do whatever he must to find her after the war. Following News of the World, a National Book Award finalist slated for the silver screen; with a 250,000-copy first printing.

        Copyright 2019 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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shortDescription

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...

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