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True Grit

Written by: Charles Portis
Narrated by: Donna Tartt
Length: 6 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (69 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Mattie Ross, a 14-year-old girl from Dardanelle, Arkansas, sets out to avenge her Daddy who was shot to death by a no-good outlaw. Mattie convinces one-eyed "Rooster" Cogburn, the meanest U.S. marshal in the land, to ride along with her. In True Grit, we have a true American classic, as young Mattie, as vital as she is innocent, outdickers and outmaneuvers the hard-bitten men of the trail in a legend that will last through the ages.
©1968 Charles Portis (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

What the critics say

"Charles Portis is perhaps the most original, indescribable sui generis talent overlooked by literary culture in America." ( Esquire)
“Tom Wolfe, who worked with Portis as a reporter at the New York Herald-Tribune in the early 1960s called him – the original laconic cutup. A generation of novelists since then have simply regarded him as a writers-writer and have made his name a sort of secret password. Soon, they’ll no longer have him to themselves.” ( Rolling Stone Magazine)
“Like Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn and Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, Charles Portis’s True Grit captures the nanve elegance of the American voice.” (Jonathan Lethem)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of the greatest audiobooks I’ve encountered

This is a great book with truly spectacular narration. It’s a Western, written in the 1950s, but taking place in the 1870s. It is set in Arkansas and the narrator has a wonderful voice, which she switches up for the different characters and accents.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Serious issues with the recording

The story itself is quite good, the narrator does a fair job however the quality of the sound recording is so poor that I stopped listening with almost 4 hours left to the story and ended up watching the movie instead. I have never encountered such poor sound quality in any of the audible books I have listened to. Very disappointed with Audible on this one.

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Deservedly, a classic

I came late to the wonderful wordsmithing of Charles Portis, but better late than never. This is a fantastic book of storytelling. I can see myself returning to this book again and reading it out loud to my grandchildren. The narration by Donna Tartt is excellent as is her concluding essay in the audiobook. Please read or listen, you will not regret it.

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  • Liz
  • 2019-09-10

Surprisingly Terrific

I probably wouldn't have purchased this book if it hadn't been a "Daily Deal," but I'm glad that I did.
The story was exciting, and had me wanting to keep listening. The main characters are flawed but still very likeable. The narrator did a wonderful job bringing the story to life. I've always assumed that Western genre novels weren't my thing, but if they're all as good as this one, I have a lot more reading to do!

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Great narration makes the story

This is a very good western which rises close to great because of the superb job done by the narrator Donna Tartt.

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Not to be missed!

So much better than the movie. Maddie Ross is wonderful.
Narration first rate
A trreat!

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great dialogue

The bickering between the characters was what made this good listen. The voices was great. The storey was fine. A regular storey you would expect in a western.

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Loved it! Great story and narrator.

Will listen to it many more times. Well done production. Why do I have to put so many words in a review?

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just loved it will read it again

just loved it will definitely read it again and keep it on hand, to read to others

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"The wicked flee when none pursueth"

I don't have a bad thing to say about this audiobook. I enjoyed every minute of it. The narrator is wonderful. You will fall in love with Mattie Ross!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tommygaus
  • 2010-12-29

So worth it!

This is my first encounter with "true grit" and I was very pleasantly surprised! Wanted to listen before going to the Coen brothers version. I agree with many who have said it is a modern classic. Keeps your attention, brilliant dialogue, characters that stick with you. I completely disagree with other listeners who did not like the narrator. Her interpretation of male voices is no worse than the best male narrators attempts at female voices; while her reading of young Mattie was amazing! There would not be a better narration without a full cast. I have listened to over 500 audible books, and would rate this in the top 10% at least.

129 people found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 2018-05-21

Nothing I like to do pays well.

This book's deadpan prose is a song that will not leave my head. Some of the sharpest and funniest lines ever written in the English language are nestled like vipers in the pages of this book. There were times when I hadn't quite recovered from one page and was kicked, bit and beguiled by the next. I often consider the honorific of 'unappreciated' to be a little bit of a stock exaggeration, but even if this book would sell a million copies tomorrow, I'd still consider it an unappreciated masterpiece of American fiction.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Molly J. Collins
  • 2010-12-29

A great rendition of a great book

Charles Portis' book is terrific, a classic tale told well. His gift for dialogue is impressive. I can't think of a better person to read it than Donna Tartt. Certainly she was not going to capture the voice of any vision we might have of Rooster Cogburn. But this is Mattie Ross' story and she tells it wonderfully. I also enjoyed the essay at the end of audiobook. It explained well the passion that Ms. Tartt brought to her reading. This is a good investment, and a perfect companion to either movie version you prefer!

46 people found this helpful

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  • Jefferson
  • 2011-01-21

Mattie Ross as Huck, Ahab, and Dorothy

This is a concise, suspenseful, funny, philosophical, and ultimately sad novel that gives an unvarnished look at the American West and the complicated men and women who lived in it and helped to make its myth. The relationship between fourteen-year-old Mattie Ross and Rooster Cogburn, the man she hires to bring the murderer of her father to justice, is enjoyable to watch develop. For Mattie, who is narrating the story as an old woman in the early 20th century, her brief time in Indian Territory hunting outlaws with Rooster Cogburn was the most memorable moment in her life.

One reviewer was bothered by the reader Donna Tartt's audible "swallowing or breathing," and some reviewers were bothered by her "unconvincing" male voices. All I can say is that Ms. Tartt is so good at reading the story, brings it so much to life, differentiates her voice for the different characters so effectively (including the men and boys), and inhabits Mattie Ross so completely, that it's easy to ignore any trivial ancillary sounds she might make as she reads. Her obvious love for and understanding of the novel shine through her savory voice.

A final bonus of this audiobook, in fact, is the closing essay by Tartt, in which she interestingly recounts her family history with True Grit and what it meant and means to her, re-reads some of its best lines and scenes, and offers a provocative analysis of the novel, comparing it to Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, and The Wizard of Oz.

In conclusion, this unsentimental, brutal, humorous, moving, and spicy audiobook was a great listen.

69 people found this helpful

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  • lyeatts
  • 2011-01-02

True Great Listen!

I absolutely loved this narration by Donna Tartt and her essay at the conclusion was charming. Her long love affair with Charles Portis' True Grit comes shining through in the reading. I've just now discovered the sheer pleasure of this piece of fiction and plan to pass it on to everyone who loves a good story.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 2011-05-25

Narrator was excellent, except when she wasn't

First the book: The story is enjoyable, but I wouldn't say it's the best book I've ever known. Mattie is tough as nails and I found her pluck quite endearing, but I didn't find myself thinking about the characters when I was away from the book the way I have with other novels.

Now for the narrator: Donna Tartt is the perfect voice for the Mattie. As soon as she starts reading, the main character is 100% believable. Her male voices are ok, but a little slow in pace. I did, however, admire how she used different accents for Asians, Native Americans, and Mexicans. No easy task with a drawl as rich as Tartt's. Kudos for the diversity. However..... I kept getting drawn out of the story with Tartt's incessant swallowing and slightly-too-long pauses between paragraphs. I wonder if this was recorded in her own home studio or something. I don't ever recall hearing so much swallowing or noticeable pauses in any other books I've listened to. It was really quite annoying.

So, I guess I'd recommend this audiobook to history buffs and people who can tune out distracting noises, but if you tend to fixate on those sounds, this recording will drive you crazy.

57 people found this helpful

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  • k teed
  • 2018-02-22

A Classic Western

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend it to a friend who likes Westerns

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Rooster Cogburn. He is a mean yet likable character and has True Grit

What does Donna Tartt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Donna Tartt is one of my favorite authors and narrators. Her southern accent, which is exaggerated in this performance, is perfect. There are some technical issues with the recording, but they are minor. I found her performance to be the best aspect of True Grit.

If you could take any character from True Grit out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Rooster Cogburn for sure. It would be interesting to hear more of his stories that briefly surface in the novel.

Any additional comments?

Overall, True Grit was good listen. It's not my favorite, but the narration was great and the the story kept my attention. It's a good Western, and it was certainly worth my time.

11 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Will
  • 2017-05-19

Bad production

You can hear the narrator's swallowing and breathing, which is very distracting and frustrating. It sometimes sounds like she has a peppermint in her mouth. This should have been corrected by someone.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-08-25

Great book deserves better production effort

Such (and I mean REALLY) such a good book. So good. Top 10 in a lifetime of reading.

Performer is excellent as well but production team failed to remove her throat clearing and lip smacking to the point of serious distraction. A classic book such as this and a wonderful performance such as hers deserves better editing.

I'd recommend the book highly; but wouldn't recommend the audio version as the lip smacking is just too much.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Chip Atkinson
  • 2015-02-23

A Western Masterpiece Read By USA's Best Author

I was taken back at the extraoridnary writing, as was arguably the 21st century's most gifted author, Donna Tart. She wrote a short essay at the end of this title in which she rightly labels this work a masterpiece. She's not alone. Roald Dahl called it the best book he'd read in a long time at the books release in 1968. She puts True Grit on the same top shelf as Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Wizard of Oz, and even the works of Poe.

Most of you will be familiar with this story because of the two blockbuster movies it produced. You may be tempted to pass on this because both movies were fairlly true to the book. Please dont make that mistake! Tartt rightfully points out that because of the success of the movie, ("which is good enough but could never do the book justice.") the book failed to be recognized for the classic it is..

Ms Tartt is a native of Mississippi and understands the dialogue and subtle diferences between the type of southern accents represented. Her narration is simply worthy of a masterpiece. Theres really no better way to put it.

This will always be one of my favorite audible experiences.

26 people found this helpful