Friday, August 16, 2019

True Grit

Arrived in the mail: Charles Portis, True Grit, 4th printing in 1968, the year of publication. I believe I first read it serialized in The Saturday Evening Post. I once had a paperback copy but it disappeared somewhere along the way. This is a secondhand hardback and whoever owned it took very good care. I found it at Alibris ( which serves booksellers all over the country. The original cost in 1968 was $4.95. This one cost me $24.95. There has been a bit of inflation over the last fifty years so this is probably fair for a book that old in this condition. The book was very popular. The John Wayne movie came out almost immediately in 1969. I still enjoy that one although the Coen brothers film (2011) is truer to the spirit of the book.

From Kirkus Reviews in 1968:
When Tom Chaney got drunk and shot Frank Ross, fourteen-year-old Mattie Rose Moss was convinced that Chaney represented an eye-for-an-eye, tooth-for-a-tooth case. She lit out from Dardanelle, Arkansas, determined to be Tom's fitting executioner and negotiated for the help of Rooster Cogburn, a U.S. Marshal of wide repute, mean disposition, and deadly fast draw. Despite his initial reluctance and the unwelcome presence of a pesky bounty hunter who wanted to take Chaney alive, Mattie Rose crossed into the Indian Territory, where (in the 1880's) scalping was more common than barbering, and she brought down her quarry after a series of Pearl White climaxes. Annoyed by the loose allusions to her great adventure made by an Arkansas housewife-historian, middle-aged Mattie Rose sets all the record straight in a positive Presbyterian no-nonsense first person that is marvelously funny. ....

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