What Is "the News"?

In T.C. Boyle's novel When the Killing's Done, he describes the new life of one of his protaganists, Rita, who has gone to cook for a farm on Santa Cruz Island off the coast of California near Santa Barbara.
She had Bax and Anise, half a dozen ranch hands and upward of four thousand sheep to keep her company, and she was absorbed so in the workings of the ranch--in the details, everything inhering in the details--that all the rest of the world seemed to dwindle down to nothing, as if she'd dreamed it, as if the whole town of Oxnard had been thrown up like a movie set or hardened in place out of a shower of fairy dust. And the news--what was the news anyway but a long trumped-up shriek of impending doom and current disaster that just made everybody sour and distrustful and hateful of their fellow man? She didn't need it. Didn't miss it. The news for her, the news that mattered, was written on the wind and it dripped out of the fog and bleated from the throats of the sixteen hundred ewes about to drop their lambs in the rain-fed grass of the lower meadow that she could hear and smell and taste even as she got up to feed more wood into the stove.


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