©1968 Charles Portis; (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC
"Charles Portis is perhaps the most original, indescribable sui generis talent overlooked by literary culture in America." (Esquire)
“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)
“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)
Say something about yourself!
I doubt that I can add much after over two thousand reviews, but I just wanted to add my 'vote of approval' for this book.
I've seen the John Wayne movie as well as the remake a few years ago. I enjoyed both of them. But as it so often the case, the movies do not live up to the book. I originally ordered this book because I like an occasional western genre book. I soon discovered that it's really pushing it to call this a western genre book. "True Grit" invokes the classic 'quest', 'coming of age' and also the 'great American hero' genres. I feel confident one could adapt the plot and general sequence of events to a host of settings other than the west or rural America.
It is such a classic story and so incredibly well written. It gives you just the right balance of drama, excitement, humor and also just a little bit of improbable magic towards the end. The exceptional thing about the unfolding of the work is that all three central characters end up with 'true grit', but perhaps none as much as the the 14 year old girl, Mattie.
It would be difficult to explain just how great the narrator is in this audio book. I'd put her reading of "True Grit" right up there with some of the best of the late Frank Mueller. There is no higher compliment than that.
If you're at least on the fence about this book, get it!
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
What's not to love about a stubborn young girl who explodes off the page and a rotten old Marshall joined up to do justice to an outlaw hiding out in the territory? Not a word wasted, this is not just entertaining, but a shining example of master craft.
I had never read the book but liked both movies. I downloaded the book for a road-trip and listened to the whole thing in two sittings. The storyline is straight foreword but paints a vivid picture of the old west through the reminiscent eyes of an old spinster. The narrator, with her accent, was a perfect choice for this story.
This is a great piece of American literature, I would recommend it to anyone who has never read it before.
Tell us about yourself!
For my first Audible Western I chose True Grit. I have not seen the movies but have heard what the story is about. I was not disappointed. This was a simple but well told story of a young 14 year old girl out to avenge her fathers death. I could imagine John Wayne as "Rooster" Cogburn with the eye patch and everything.
Donna Tartt did an outstanding job with Mattie Ross, who is after all, the one telling the story. She handled the accents well and her voicing of the men was acceptable when taking into account that the story is being told by a teenage girl.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. The story held my interest throughout and moved along well. I might just have to expand my choices to include some western style stories
You know what the book is about. You know how it ends. You know Charles Portis is a rustic, comic genius. Donna Tartt brings this book to life. The Coen brothers' movie is great, however, I'd listen to Donna Tartt read this book as soon as see the movie again. She is that good!
A a kid I never enjoyed John Wayne's movies. It was not until the latest version of the movie True Grit was released (and which I enjoyed tremendously) that I went back and saw the John Wayne version and then had to get the book.
This is a wonderful tale. And although the narrator did have some deficits (I also did not like her male voices that much and noticed the swallowing and such), she had Mattie's voice dead-on perfect! As explained in her wonderful essay at the end, she was a brilliant choice for the job.
This is well worth the credit. Enjoy.
I did not read a review of this book because I had seen the John Wayne movie and I knew it was a good story. Five minutes into listening to this book I had to stop and read the reviews to see if anyone else had noticed the breathing, swallowing, and pausing of the narrator. I found it very distracting. I see others have criticized her ability to do male voices. I liked the narrators read for Mattie but her male characters voices are very similar to each other and it seemed as though sometimes she forgot who she was voicing because it would change from sentence to sentence. I am in the middle of the book and am enjoying it, but i think it would be better with a different narrator or or maybe a different recording setup.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY (western fiction) - You probably saw the movie with John Wayne playing U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn. Mattie Ross, a young teenager, hires him to help find the man who killed her father. As they meander together through the wild west, it becomes hard to tell which of them possesses the most "true grit."
I know this is a beloved story that has withstood the test of time, but I found it pretty slow. Mattie is smart and spunky, and she manages to hold her own with men several times her age. I liked her character and I liked watching her relationship develop with Rooster, but I often found my mind wandering. It gets pretty exciting at the end, but I didn't care for the death of a sweet animal and I didn't like the part with the snakes. I hate snakes!
I don't know why the author failed to use contractions in this book, but it seemed strange to constantly hear "I can not" and "I am not," as opposed to "can't" and "ain't." Similarly, I don't understand the use of "said he" or "said I" as opposed to "he said" or "I said." It all sounded kind of stilted for a work of western fiction.
PERFORMANCE - This female narrator had an age-appropriate voice for Mattie and gave her a cute southern accent, but the performance goes downhill from there. She made a valiant attempt to perform various cowboy-type characters, but most of them sounded pretty awful. Her tempo wasn't constant, and some characters spoke painfully slow. And don't get me started about all the lip smacking as she opened and closed her mouth! I know I'm in the minority here about this performance...
OVERALL - (Actual overall rating 2.5) There is no sex or cursing. There is the type of action and shootouts one would expect of cowboy fiction. This book would probably be best for guys or gals from about 13 to adult, although I personally am not a big fan.
So Many Books, So Little Time
Mattie Ross is one of the strongest and most pure voices in American literature. She has grit and gumption and, yet, is sweetly vulnerable at the same time. I had read this book some years back but when I learned that Donna Tartt performed an audio version of it I was eager to hear it. Tartt did such a wonderful job of narrating her own books that I was sure this would be wonderful and it was.
There's nothing I can say about Mattie that hasn't been said a hundred times before. She is, as Tartt points out in her epilogue, a combination of Huck Finn, Captain Ahab, and Dorothy Gale with, I would add, a little bit of Scout Finch thrown in for good measure. This was a real treat.
The book was very entertaining. The reader did a wonderful job. The story is written such that it makes you wonder from time to time if it is real or not.
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