I thought Charles Portis was an unfamiliar name till I heard he wrote True Grit, which meant he wasn’t unfamiliar at all and that I just hadn’t been paying attention. Paul Theroux wrote Deep South about his excursions around the southern U.S. and mentioned that he’d tried to meet Portis in Little Rock, but was unsuccessful. To me, True Grit was, first just another John Wayne movie which I never deigned to see, then a Cohen Brothers remake, which I liked, but I never connected it with a book and author. Thus, does prejudice keep and make us ignorant.
I bought a few Portis books on Theroux’s advice, and started with The Dog Of The South (click for commentary), then moved on to True Grit, since it came later in the mail. No need, I guess, for more palaver about this one. Mattie Ross is one of the most original protagonists of any sex every created, and the tale is as full of suspense and peril as any Louis L’Amour potboiler, yet has a depth Louis never accomplished.
If you want more, get the book. It’s a short, pungent read you will never quite get over.