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)
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.
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!
"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.
"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.
Gripping story, superbly narrated by Donna Tartt - thoroughly enjoyable.
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