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A #1 New York Times bestseller, Charles Portis’s True Grit is “an epic and a legend” (Washington Post), a story of danger and adventure in the Old West—the basis for two award-winning films, the first starring John Wayne in his only Oscar-winning role, as Marshall Rooster Cogburn, and the widely praised remake by the Coen brothers, starring Jeff Bridges.
“Quite simply, an American masterpiece.” —Boston Globe
“Charles Portis had a wonderful talent—original, quirky, exciting.” —Larry McMurtry
Charles Portis has long been acclaimed as one of America’s most enduring and incomparable literary voices, and his novels have left an indelible mark on the American canon. True Grit, his most famous novel, was first published in 1968, and has garnered critical acclaim as well as enthusiastic praise from countless passionate fans for more than 50 years.
True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just 14 when the coward Tom Chaney shoots her father in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 in cash. Filled with an unwavering urge to avenge her father’s blood, Mattie finds and, after some tenacious finagling, enlists one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available US Marshal, as her partner in pursuit, and they head off into Indian Territory after the killer.
True Grit is essential reading. Not just a classic Western, but an undeniable classic of American literature as eccentric, cool, funny, and unflinching as Mattie Ross herself. For fans of either the John Wayne classic or the Coen brothers’ movie, it’s a chance to relive the story of Mattie and Rooster and experience their story as it was originally told. For fans of taut, funny storytelling, it will be a joy to experience in its original form.
This edition includes an afterword by bestselling author Donna Tartt (The Secret History and The Goldfinch) and a reading group guide.
About the Author
Charles Portis (1933–2020) lived most of his life in Arkansas, where he was born and raised. He was a graduate of the University of Arkansas, which in 2018 awarded him an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters. 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. He is the author of four other novels, also available from the Overlook Press: Norwood, The Dog of the South, Masters of Atlantis, and Gringos. A selection of his writing has been collected in Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany.
“How to describe the indescribable? Probably the best description I can give of True Grit is that I’ve never given it to any reader — male or female, of any age or sensibility — who didn’t enjoy it.”
— Donna Tartt
“Skillfully constructed, a comic tour de force.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Quite simply, an American masterpiece.”
— Boston Globe
“Rollicking . . . a beaut narrated in the unforgettable voice of Mattie Ross . . . Portis has crazy-cool literary swagger.”
— Entertainment Weekly
“Charles Portis is an original, indescribable sui generis talent . . . Rereading Portis is one of the great pure pleasures—both visceral and cerebral—available in modern American literature.”
— Ron Rosenbaum
“It’s possible that True Grit is the genuine article—a book so strong that it reads as myth."
— Ed Park
“Charles Portis’s True Grit is a masterpiece.”
— Anthony Bourdain
“The dialogue in True Grit is exquisite.”
— David Mamet
“I’ve always thought Charles Portis had a wonderful talent—original, quirky, exciting.”
— Larry McMurtry
“An epic and a legend.”
— Washington Post
“Charles Portis’s True Grit captures the naive elegance of the American Voice.”
— Jonathan Lethem