Find the #1 NYT Bestseller True Grit by Charles Portis from your local library.
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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.
More books by Charles Portis
1. Charles Portis: Collected Works (LOA #369)
The ultimate Portis: for the first time in one collector’s volume, the complete fiction and collected nonfiction of the author of True Grit Rediscover a comic genius and master storyteller comparable to Mark Twain “Charles Portis is one of the great pure pleasures available in American literature.” —Ron Rosenbaum “Like Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, Charles Portis’s True Grit captures the naïve elegance of the American voice.” —Jonathan Lethem “No living Southern writer captures the spoken idioms of the South as artfully as Portis does.” —Donna Tartt “His fiction is the funniest I know.” —Roy Blount, Jr. Twice adapted as a film, first in a version starring John Wayne and then by the Coen Brothers, True Grit is a wonder of novelistic perfection, told in the unforgettable voice of 14-year-old Mattie Ross as she sets out to avenge her murdered father in a quest that brings her out of her native Arkansas and into the wilds of the Choctaw Nation of the 1870s. One of the great literary Westerns, it is also a novel that has invited comparison with The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Portis’s deadpan debut novel Norwood (1966) is, like True Grit, the story of a quest, though here the stakes are far lower: an auto mechanic from Texas embarks on a madcap journey to New York City to try and recover $70 owed to him from an Army buddy. A book that according to Roy Blount Jr. “no one should die without having read,” The Dog of the South (1979) is yet a third saga of pursuit, this time all the way to Central America. Ray Midge is on the road looking for the man who has run off with his car (and of somewhat less interest to him, his wife.) Masters of Atlantis (1985) conjures the fictional cult of Gnomonism and takes an uproarious plunge into the dark heart of conspiratorial thinking and schismatic in-fighting. Gringos (1991), set in Mexico, follows an expatriate ex-Marine in his search to find a UFO hunter gone missing in the Yucatan, amid a supporting cast of archaeologists, drug-addled hippie millenarians, and the son of the “bravest dog in all Mexico.” A generous gathering of the nonfiction reveals Portis’s skills as a reporter, above all in his coverage of the Civil Rights Movement; his appreciation of Arkansas history and landscape, as in “The Forgotten River”; and his poignancy as a family memoirist, on display in his recollection “Combinations of Jacksons.”
2. Escape Velocity
Collected here in Escape Velocity, edited by Jay Jennings, is his “miscellany” †“†“ journalism, short fiction, memoir, and even the play Delray’s New Moon, published for the first time in this volume. Â Portis covers topics as varied as the civil rights movement, road tripping in Baja, and Elvis’ s visits to his aging mother for publications such as the New York Herald Tribune and Saturday Evening Post. Â Fans of Portis’s droll Southern humor and quirky characters will be thrilled at this new addition to his library, and those not yet familiar with his work will find a great introduction to him here. Â Also included are tributes by accomplished authors including Donna Tartt and Ron Rosenbaum.
3. The Dog of the South
His wife, Norma, has run off with her ex-husband, taking Ray’s cards, shotgun and car. But from the receipts, Ray can track where they’ve gone. He takes off after them, as does an irritatingly tenacious bail bondsman, both following the romantic couple’s spending as far as Mexico. There Ray meets Dr Reo Symes, the seemingly down-on-his-luck and rather eccentric owner of a beaten up and broken down bus, who needs a ride to Belize. The further they drive, in a car held together by coat-hangers and excesses of oil, the wilder their journey gets. But they’re not going to give up easily.
Jimmy Burns is an expatriate American living in Mexico who has an uncommonly astute eye for the absurd little details that comprise your average American. For a time, Jimmy spent his days unearthing pre-Colombian artifacts. Now he makes a living doing small trucking jobs and helping out with the occasional missing person situation—whatever it takes to remain “the very picture of an American idler in Mexico, right down to the grass-green golfing trousers.†? But when Jimmy’s laid-back lifestyle is seriously imposed upon by a ninety-pound stalker called Louise, a sudden wave of “hippies†? (led by a murderous ex-con guru) in search of psychic happenings, and a group of archaeologists who are unearthing (illegally) Mayan tombs, his simple South-of-the-Border existence faces a clear and present danger.
5. The Masters of Atlantis
Lamar Jimmerson is the leader of the Gnomon Society, the international fraternal order dedicated to preserving the arcane wisdom of the lost city of Atlantis. Stationed in France in 1917, Jimmerson comes across a little book crammed with Atlantean puzzles, Egyptian riddles, and extended alchemical metaphors. It’s the Codex Pappus – the sacred Gnomon text. Soon he is basking in the lore of lost Atlantis, convinced that his mission on earth is to administer to and extend the ranks of the noble brotherhood.
Sent on a mission to New York he gets involved in a wild journey that takes him in and out of stolen cars, freight trains, and buses. By the time he returns home to Texas, Norwood has met his true love, Rita Lee, on a bus; befriended the second shortest midget in show business and “the world’s smallest perfect fat man†?; and helped Joann “the chicken with a college education,†? realize her true potential in life. As with all Portis’ fiction, the tone is cool, sympathetic, and funny.
Last updated on Friday, September 2, 2022