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True Grit [Paperback]

Charles Portis , Donna Tartt
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

3 Jan 2005
There is no knowing what lies in a man's heart. On a trip to buy ponies, Frank Ross is killed by one of his own workers. Tom Chaney shoots him down in the street for a horse, $150 cash, and two Californian gold pieces. Ross's unusually mature and single-minded fourteen-year-old daughter Mattie travels to claim his body, and finds that the authorities are doing nothing to find Chaney. Then she hears of Rooster - a man, she's told, who has grit - and convinces him to join her in a quest into dark, dangerous Indian territory to hunt Chaney down and avenge her father's murder.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Jan 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747572631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747572633
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘Charles Portis is perhaps the most original, indescribable sui generis talent overlooked by literary culture in America’ -- Esquire

‘Comparable to her literary ancestor and fellow southerner, Huckleberry Finn … a gripping story made up of insightful digressions’ -- Observer

‘It is a pleasure to be able to recommend a novel wholeheartedly … an instant classic’ -- Newsday

‘Portis achieves the same blackly comic atmosphere as modern western writers like Annie Proulx and Thomas McGuane’ -- Time Out

‘The best novel to come my way for a very long time … What a writer!’ -- Roald Dahl

Book Description

The new Coen brothers' film, starring Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges, in cinemas from February 2011 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRUE GREAT 28 Aug 2011
By Alexander Bryce TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I belatedly add to my all time favorite Western authors Larry McMurtry and Cormac McCarthy the name of Charles Portis . Why did it take me so long to get round to True Grit ? Well perhaps it was the John Wayne movie which I saw some years ago . It was a good movie , but not a classic and it did not inspire me to seek out the book . My mistake ! With the publicity and rave reviews surrounding the remake which I have not yet seen I thought I should invest a few pounds and a couple of nights reading . How glad I am that I did .

This is simply the best book I have read this year with possibly the best first paragraph of any book I have ever read . Here Charles Portis sets the scene with clean , direct prose and in a few sentences has the reader hooked and wanting to learn more .
The story is not complicated . A piece of evil trash Tom Chaney kills and robs the 14 year old Mattie's father . She is not happy with the official investigation and wants justice tempered with a dose of vengeance . This self willed, straight spoken and highly intelligent young woman hires a notorious one eyed , overweight , middle aged marshal Rooster Cogburn . A peace officer who deals in rough justice . Does he have enough grit for the task ? They are joined by a good looking, young Texas Ranger LaBoeuf who also wants Chaney for shooting a Texas State senator with a substantial bounty if delivered to Texas dead or alive .The contrast between the two is substantial and adds mightily to the enjoyment .
A strange trio with more discord than harmony set off in the winter's snow to find Chaney .
They meet with more than their fair share of hardship, death and horror along the way . To tell more would risk ruining this classic tale for new readers . The 200 odd pages flew by as their quest and the conclusion unfolded without a dull passage .

True Grit which I can not praise highly enough is a great work of American fiction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thank god for film adaptations 28 April 2011
By Cuban Heel VINE VOICE
I picked this book up essentially because of an oversight on my part. I'd gone on an overnighter with work and forgotten to take either a book or my Kindle along. The only place to buy books in about a thirty mile radius was the local supermarket, and whilst I stood there girding myself for some awful celebrity biography, I spotted a single copy of True Grit on its side on the bottom shelf. I was aware of the John Wayne film, of course, and I knew the Cohens had recently remade it. What I didn't know was that the source material for both movies was a novel - and a novel held in some quarters as a bit of classic no less. I had a moment's hesitation as the edition on offer had a film cast cover (which I hate), but ever the one for compromise I ended up taking it to the checkout.

This was, indeed, a great little book. The characterisation of Mattie absolutely shines in it. It probably is one of THE great literary representations of a wilful (and precocious) teenage girl. The narrative is taut and gripping in a way that belies its simplicity. And Portis gets the atmosphere of the West absolutely spot on in my opinion, it feels authentic without resorting to out and out Western genre cliches. I loved the way he played with the notion of morality - Cogburn as the marshall whose actions provoke criticism because he bends the rules of law, his past as a Confederate soldier and outlaw himself, and his ultimate slide back into that sort of life when he is forced to turn his badge in. He isn't a hero, he isn't exactly an anti-hero, he is something else and we see him in the narrative in a fleeting moment of his rather more complex life.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than I remembered!, 16 July 2010
This review is from: True Grit (Paperback)
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.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable read
Slightly different from the Cohen brothers film but the main story remains true. Also an easy read so I look forward to reading another Portis book
Published 1 month ago by brucie
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
This is a very short and undemanding little book which doesn't contribute much more if you've seen both the films because both scripts are very close to the story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jaksenpollock
5.0 out of 5 stars True Grit, a true testament
Mattie Ross, fourteen years old, is her father's son, she is magnificent. An adult read, this will appeal to young adults, a timeless story,as our heroine sets out to avenge her... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Susan Butterworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading
When you have Donna Tartt writing the introduction you know you are on a winner.

Wonderful book, don't be put off by the fact that John Wayne played the leading male... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Margaret Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Having seen and enjoyed both film versions, I finally got round to reading True Grit having been recommended it years ago. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Honest Chap's Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Humour suspense and great use of language.Matties character is not described but comes over strongly through her use of language.
Published 4 months ago by Jenny Ferris
4.0 out of 5 stars Read and enjoy!
Set in the Wild West of the 1870's, 'True Grit' is the superb tale of Old Testament style revenge and companionship written through the unsparing eyes of the 14 year old heroine,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by os
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked this Western it was better than the film (both of them)
Good story, that suits the translation into German. The story pretty much follows the films plot exactly, but for the imaginative mind, as always, reading the original novel is a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Bill.
4.0 out of 5 stars Real western vengeance
What a little gem this book turned out to be. The book is a narrative as told by Mattie Ross, a 14 year old girl who lost her father to the murderer Tom Chaney. Read more
Published 7 months ago by SBno1
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I liked both film versions of this tale very much and wondered how they would differ from the book. Needn't have worried - for a start Donna Tartt's introduction was extremely... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Miss Katherine S McVarish
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