True Grit: A Novel

True Grit: A Novel

by Charles Portis

Paperback(Movie Tie-in)

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True Grit is his most famous novel--first published in 1968, and the basis for the movie of the same name starring John Wayne. It tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash money. Mattie leaves home to avenge her father's blood. With the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, by her side, Mattie pursues the homicide into Indian Territory. True Grit is eccentric, cool, straight, and unflinching, like Mattie herself. From a writer of true cult status, this is an American classic through and through. This new edition, with a smart new package and an afterword by acclaimed author Donna Tartt, will bring this masterpiece to an even broader audience.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590204597
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 11/05/2010
Edition description: Movie Tie-in
Pages: 235
Sales rank: 39,615
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Charles Portis lives in Arkansas, where he was born and educated. He served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, was the London bureau chief of the New York Herald-Tribune, and was a writer for The New Yorker.

What People are Saying About This

Roald Dahl

True Grit is the best novel to come my way in a very long time… Marvelous.

John Wayne

I loved that book. Charles Portis got a real Mark Twain feeling, the cynicism and the humor. I tried to buy the book myself.

Jonathan Lethem

Like Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn and Thomas Berger's Little Big Man, Charles Portis's True Grit captures the naïve elegance of the American voice.

From the Publisher

“Tom Wolfe, who worked with Portis as a reporter at the New York Herald-Tribune in the early 1960s called him ¦the original laconic cutup.¦ A generation of novelists since then have simply regarded him as a writers¦ writer and have made his name a sort of secret password. Soon, they¦ll no longer have him to themselves.” —Rolling Stone Magazine

¦An epic and a legend.¦ -- The Washington Post

¦Like Mark Twain¦s Huckleberry Finn and Thomas Berger¦s Little Big Man, Charles Portis¦s True Grit captures the nanve elegance of the American voice.¦ -- Jonathan Lethem

¦An instant classicè.Read it and have the most fun you¦ve had reading a novel in years, maybe decades.¦ -- Newsday

¦Skillfully constructed, a comic tour de force.¦ -- The New York Times Book Review

¦Charles Portis details the savagery of the 1870s frontier through an astonishing narrative voice: that of the 14-year- old Mattie Ross, a flinty, skeptical, Bible-thumping scourge¦ -- Wall Street Journal

¦I loved that book. Charles Portis got a real Mark Twain feeling, the cynicism and the humor. I tried to buy the book myself.¦ -- John Wayne

Customer Reviews

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True Grit 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 387 reviews.
TomArnold88 More than 1 year ago
I recently heard that the Cohen Brothers were remaking the movie True Grit and that they are going to stick to the source material and not remake the John Wayne Classic. I had read the book a couple times (If I read a book more than once it is something special) but it was years ago. I decided to give it another reading with the new movie version on the way. It does not seem Possible but this book was even better than I remembered, I do believe a candidate for the great American novel. The original movie does a pretty good job of capturing the essence of the book, Wayne was a perfect Rooster Cogburn, and Kim Darby was born to play Mattie Ross, and even secondary characters like Robert Duvall as Lucky Ned Pepper are perfect. The one glaring miscasting in the original movie is Glen Cambell as the Texas Ranger La Boeuf. Cambell is such a bad actor he really does drage the movie down. But I digress, this is a review of the book. The book is told through the point of view of an old, one armed lady, Mattie Ross. She recounts her odyssey to avenge her fathers death at the hands of the no account Tom Chaney. To help her do this she enlists the help of hard living, hard drinking, shoot first and ask questions later Rooster Cogburn. The two seem polar opposites the Bible quoting puritanical Ross and the vulgar frontier Marshal, and these differences make up a lot of the humor in the book, but over the course of their adventure the reader learns they have one thing in common and that is "True Grit." I don't want give away all the differences between the book and the movie but there are enough to make the book a different and enjoyable experience. Lets just say the style of the book is more realistic without any perfect Hollywood endings. I love a good western and this one belongs on the top shelf along with "The Oxbow Incident," "Lonesome Dove," "The Treasure Of Sierra Madre" and "All the Pretty Horses." And for a great modern day western I recommend "Across the High Lonesome."
Motlei More than 1 year ago
$5.00 MORE for the electronic copy of this title? Are they special electrons? Does Mr. Portis type them special for me or include a digitally-signed copy from his home computer? Hey publishers, I'll visit the library and borrow the book before I pay an inflated price to download it.
McCarthy92 More than 1 year ago
This is a classic work of American literature. I bought this book because I heard the Coen Brothers (my second favorite filmmakers) were doing an adaptation on it. This was a great book. I love the action, the narration by the 14 year-old Mattie Ross, and the overall humor of the novel. To top it all off, this is a western, one of my favorite movie genres and maybe now, after reading True Grit, I will read more Western novels, if they're as good as this one of course. This is a book everyone should read. People of all ages would seriously enjoy this novel.
MichaeltheNookGuy More than 1 year ago
It's that damn good. This is what you want. Compelling characters, great story and dialogue. If you liked the movie, get the book. It's amazing. -Michael
Louis_friend More than 1 year ago
great book. but obviously being marketed to capitalize on the current movie. and several dollars more expensive than the regular physical book.WTH
Spencer Yacos More than 1 year ago
Its incredibly boring for the first 50 pages, but then it really picks up!
Solitaireyqueen More than 1 year ago
I wasn't sure what to expect before I read this. All I knew was that I'm getting more and more into the Old West genre and with the new movie coming out, I thought I'd try it. I just loved it! Mattie Ross' voice just echoes after you've read the last page. I started to cry toward the end and I haven't done that in a very long time. This is just a good story with wonderful characters and a picture of the old west that I think would appeal to any reader.
DENVER123 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lmfao that was the best book that i ever read
gedCA More than 1 year ago
Saw and enjoyed the Coen brother's movie version of True Grit and wanted to check out the book. So I downloaded a NookBook sample to check it out. The sample, however, ended, ENDED on the dedication page, NOT ONE WORD of the novel was in this sample. Are you people crazy, or what? Why would you offer a sample of a book that didn't include any of the book? Can you guess from which bookseller I will not be buying this book, and from whom I will think long and hard before buying any other book? George Dawson Whittier, California 4-2-2011
Ragsy More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most enjoyable books I've read in a while. The subtle humor was enjoyable.
timothyl33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A western told in the first person about a character who's sheer will and tenacity shines through the pages, True Grit is remarkable for the fact that this is all from the perspective of one Mattie Ross, a 14 year old girl out to avenge her slain father in 1870s Arkansas.
exlibrismcp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A truly delightful and entertaining book. This adventurous tale of fourteen year old Mattie Ross and her single-minded pursuit to avenge the death of her father is one for the ages and for all ages of readers. On one level, there is a simple straight-forward plot that tells a wonderful story. Yet, there is another level on which Portis offers up observations and commentaries on issues of morality, justice, and human nature. Most are subtly woven into the narrative or dialogue, often with a dry dead-pan humor that left me chuckling out loud. There are, however, a couple of overt passages where Mattie delivers a miniature Sunday School lesson complete with encouragement to look up certain Bible verses which back up her position or ideas.Despite her pious notions of right and wrong, Mattie shows no compunction in her hiring of the meanest and less than up-standing U.S. Marshal around to accompany her on her trail of vengeance. Narrated and re-told by on older Mattie, the fourteen year old's voice for the most part dominates the story, simultaneously revealing both a naivete appropriate to her age and wisdom beyond it. Written with language, setting, and characters true to its time and place, i.e. Arkansas and Indian Territory of a post-Civil War West, Portis artfully delivers on themes and issues that are relevant to any time and place.
VisibleGhost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It's been awhile since I gushed. I am hereby gushing. This book has generated two movie versions so it needs little introduction. the subject matter almost doesn't matter because it's such a delight to read. And it can be read by nearly all age groups, for it can be enjoyed on many levels. In it resides Mattie Ross, one of the great authentic American voices in literature. She is a pious little thing- when offered some whiskey when she is ailing, she replies, " I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains". There is a low-keyed understated humor rippling throughout the entire book. Along with dialogue that is smooth and of the times (1870s). Most Americans know Huck and Tom. They should also get to know Mattie.
Asperula on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mattie Ross, from Yell County near Dardanelle, Arkansas is quite a girl. Loved this book!
drudmann on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly good; why have I never heard of this author before? Sly humor throughout. Worth re-reading.
SamSattler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tom Chaney makes the biggest mistake of his already despicable life when he murders Mattie Ross¿s father and robs him of his horse and the cash in his pockets (including two unusually shaped, and easily recognized, gold pieces). Now he has to deal with Mattie Ross, the murdered man¿s fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who will not rest until she sees Tom Chaney hang for the murder.Mattie makes the trip to Fort Smith, Arkansas, with two missions in mind: claim her father¿s body and send it home for burial, and hire someone to help her capture his killer. The first task is a relatively easy one, but the second is more of a challenge. Mattie, though, knows exactly the kind of man she is searching for and, once he sobers up, U.S. Marshall Rooster Cogburn seems to be the answer to her prayers. He is a man with true grit enough to match Mattie¿s own.Rooster Cogburn has a history of his own, having ridden with the infamous Quantrill¿s Raiders during the Civil War, but he is smart enough to keep the odds in his favor. Not only has he accepted a $100 contract from Mattie Ross to capture her father¿s murderer; he also draws a U.S. Marshall¿s salary and hopes to claim the bounties being offered on Chaney and others traveling with him. After LaBoeuf, a Texas Ranger/ bounty hunter, offers to split the bounties with Cogburn, the two men decide to team up ¿ and to sneak out of Fort Smith early enough to leave Mattie far behind. It would not be that easy.True Grit is first rate western adventure as seen through the eyes of Mattie Ross, now an old woman recalling the adventure of a lifetime she experienced at age fourteen. Young Mattie sees the world in black and white terms. She wants Tom Chaney to hang for the murder of her father or she wants him shot dead if it proves impossible to take him alive. What¿s right is right, and she will not rest until she makes it happen, even if she has to shoot the man herself.There is adventure in True Grit and there is humor. The more subtle humor stems from the way that the roughest and toughest characters in the book speak their dialogue. Even in the heat of battle, or while throwing personal insults at each other, Cogburn and the rest speak in Mattie Ross¿s voice, including her vocabulary and grammatical style. It took me more than a few pages to figure out that the book is more a monologue than a traditional novel. The reader is hearing the elderly Mattie Ross recount her adventures, and each of the characters, from Rooster to Tom Chaney, speaks the way that Mattie would have spoken had she been in their shoes.It is easy to see why True Grit made Charles Portis¿s reputation; it is a shame, however, that Portis wrote so little else. This is one of those books that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, and it is good to see that the new movie version has given it new life.
cwflatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was great to finally read the book that one of my favorite movies was adapted from and especially now that a remake of that movie is out also. They both do a great job of telling the story of Mattie Ross. As normal you cant be the orignial story writers intrpretation of the story. A book with "Grit". More backstory on Rooster and the journey to find Tom Chaney is much more gritty and real. After reading the book and seeing the second movie I am even more interested in where the part about the Mountain Man came from.
Marlissa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audible version of this book, as narrated by the writer Donna Tartt. I've yet to see the new film version of the novel, but watched the old one not long ago.I was surprised to learn that the book was first published in 1968; it has the feel of a much earlier novel. I suppose that is a large part of what makes it work -- the voices of Mattie Ross and the other characters feel totally authentic for the 19th century. No anachronisms here, thank you. As the first person narrator, Mattie's voice is so strong. A fourteen year old girl, who sounds like a Vulcan, with a sharp head for fairness, logic, and finance. And yet she breathes with the vitality that makes characters real to the reader. Of course it's an adventure story too, as Mattie comes of age in circumstances that constantly threaten to get the best of her (but never quite do). But for me, I think her voice is what makes the book a new favorite and one I'll probably return to read again. I also wanted to mention that this is a book horse lovers will appreciate too. "Little Blackie" is a background character, but you'll recognize his heart and feel his sewing machine trot as Mattie struggles too keep up with the Marshals.
moonimal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great western, with a strong young girl as the protagonist. Typical revenge-driven plot (my dad was killed, and I'm gonna hunt down the man who killed him), but the prose is spare and clean. Not Cormac McCarthy spare, but terse Western spare.Like the book for its characters and mythic plot, but it was a bit predictable (snake pit thrown in for good measure at the end)
wearylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am told this is one of the greatest books ever written. While it is nowhere near the best. Maybe it is because I keep picturing John Wayne as Rooster (& I am not a John Wayne fan). I didn't expect it to end the way it did.
ffstorer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Coen brothers did not need a screen play.
MillieHennessy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I will admit I saw the recent movie, before I read the book, but I find that I really enjoyed both. This story follows fourteen-year-old Mattie as she hunts down her father's killer with the help of marshals Cogburn and LaBoeuf. Every character in the book has a strong personality, and I was pleased to find that the movie was fairly faithful to the book (more so than most anyways). I really loved Mattie's voice as the narrator. Her very direct way of speaking and explaining things was unique and amusing. As with the movie, I hadn't expected to find humor in the book, but Cogburn has some good lines.
sarah-e on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I should have read this as a kid. Mattie is everything a fourteen year old should be - or should want to be - funny, smart, dedicated, determined, adventurous. The story is really fun to read, and so funny at times - I enjoyed the dialogue in the book especially. There were some points at which the plot dragged a little, but the excitement of the story more than made up for it.
Ceolach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A thoroughly enjoyable read! The dialogue was used mostly word-for-word in the original movie starring John Wayne and Kim Darby. The back story and additional comments by "Maddie" in the book give even more depth to the story. Portis injects a great deal of humour into what could have been a very dry story, giving it a warmth and depth that few novels have attained. His use of a distinctly southern vernacular truly brings these characters to life. One can easily imagine sitting on the front porch, sipping lemonade, and listening to Maddie re-tell her story.