Now a major film written and directed by the Coen Brothers
There is no knowing what lies in a man's heart.
On a trip to buy ponies, Frank Ross is killed by Torn Chancy, who shoots him down for a horse, $150 cash, and two gold pieces. Ross's single-minded teenage daughter, Mattie, travels to claim his body... Then she meets Rooster - a man with grit - and persuades him to join her on a deadly quest to avenge her father's murder.
Narrated by bestselling American author Donna Tartt, who brings True Grit - her favourite book - to life with perfect intonation, insight and suspense.
©1969 Charles Portis (P)2006 WF Howes Ltd
“What book has given me greater pleasure in the last five years? Or in the last twenty? I do not know. What a writer!” (Roald Dahl)
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True Grit follows the journey of a stubborn young woman, 14 year-old Mattie Ross, as she seeks revenge for the murder of her father, enlisting the help of a Deputy US Marshall, Rooster Cogburn, because he has 'grit'. It's a wonderful tale of great courage and endurance on all sides. The novel's pace varies with the action it's describing: the long horse-rides are filled with extensive, languid character-revealing conversations, while the action scenes are eye-widening, fast-moving and sometimes horrifying.
I was surprised how close the original film starring John Wayne was to this novel, and as Donna Tartt read it I found I was seeing scenes from the movie in my mind's eye. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ms Tartt's reading, which revealed how the written words ought to sound by intonation as much as by pronunciation. Because of the comparison with the movie, I found that the conversations with Stonehill (the horse dealer) lacked the irony and sarcasm that Strother Martin was able to inject in the film.
I loved it, I loved the characters, and Ms Tartt conveyed an empathy and love for the book herself in her reading, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Be careful where you listen to this book - I was listening on commuter trains and on occasions gasped, smiled, laughed, and wept unable to stop, in front of wondering witnesses!
I enjoyed this immensely. Generally, I don't really like Westerns but this is a great story and has an excellent plot. Whilst sad, it is an engrossing and totally believable tale of the people and places of the American wild-west of the 1870s.
"It's a story to get utterly lost in"
Okay, here's the thing, it took me ages to work out why it didn't feel right. I loved the story, the narrator's American drawl fitted it perfectly - even if she did sound a little nervous to start with. So why wasn't i getting it?
Then it hit me. Rooster Cogburn didn't sound like John Wayne - I know that sounds mad, but in my mind that's how Cogburn spoke.
I haven't seen the new film, though that's why i got this audiobook, because the new film is out. I guess if i had, then maybe I'd have got the John Wayne thing out of my head beforehand.
As soon as i stopped thinking about John Wayne as Cogburn, and just let the story flow, I became utterly lost in it.
It is a remarkable tale. The only other time I've ever been engrossed in a book about a teenage girl was in the Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, and they both share a similar gripping, powerful story about a brave girl you just can't help rooting for.
I guess everyone knows the story of True Grit, but what you get out of this are all the extra bits, the thoughts, the feelings, the bits you can't put into a film. This book will tell you more about the motivations and what really went on than you could possibly guess.
It's a must.
"True grit review"
I loved this. I don't know how many times I've listened to it now. Donna Tartt's steady and unaffected yet humourous and expressive reading is perfect.
Gripping story, superbly narrated by Donna Tartt - thoroughly enjoyable.
"True GOLD from TRUE GRIT"
YES. Story telling at it's best and Donna Tartt to read it for you. What's not to like?
Mattie's horse dealing to get, well, a horse. Funny and clever.
Just about the most compellingly listen-able performance you are likely to hear. Every character is distinct and wholly alive.
Not a single moment. The whole book is warm hearted and the soothing of Rooster Cogburn by Mattie a consummate delight.
A fine classic given the Rolls-Royce treatment by the reader. Do not miss it!.
"A Great story narrated by Donna Tartt she's great"
I loved every bit of this book. The characters were full of life.The story told through the girl makes it more fun but at the same time more frightening for her. I keep waiting to hear the voice of John Wayne. But the more I went with the story the more i like the girls voice telling the story. I can't wait to hear it again.......
"Good story, poor narration"
I might give Charles Portis another go, but will definitely avoid any narration by Donna Tartt
The Wild West from the perspective of a young girl
No flow or tension was developed. Lots of gaps and audible swallows. I was astonished to learn that it was one of her favourite books and she had read it out aloud before. I could have believed it was the first time it had been put in front of her.
I was unfairly hesitant about a novel narrated by another established author. Donna Tartt brings the characters to life wonderfully.
"Much more than just a "Book of the Film'"
"True Grit' needs to be able to escape from the film versions. It seems either you have John Wayne or Jeff Bridges as your 'Rooster Cogburn' character, and they overshadow the book.
The book reflects the time of its writing - the start of the American '70s, with it's distrust of power and dark and cynical outlook. Young Mattie Ross is thrown into a chaotic world and there is no guarantee she will emerge whole or unscathed.
The audio version is great for breaking the link with the film and reminding you whose story this is. I will admit, when I first heard the narration I was shocked, my first reaction was 'Does Donna Tartt really intend to read the whole novel in this outrageous accent?'
So, yes, you can imagine just how much egg was on my face when I realised that a- that is Ms Tartt's true voice and b - she is a lifelong devotee of the book.
Hearing the story read in this way gives you - I think- the necessary separation from the two film versions and allows you to hear the story in a new and much more rewarding way.
I would recommend this to folk who like their tales on the bleak side.
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