True Grit

True Grit



The Pequod Review:

Mattie Rose Smith, the narrator of Charles Portis's True Grit, is one of the great characters in all of Western fiction. Here is how she opens the book:

People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day. I was just fourteen years of age when a coward going by the name of Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robbed him of his life and his horse and $150 in cash money plus two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band.

The novel is held back a bit by Portis’s flat prose, but it has exceptional characters (not just Mattie) and often very funny dialogue.