True Grit’s Perfect First Paragraph

Emily Temple at Literary Hub:

Fifty years ago today, the first installment of Charles Portis’s True Grit was published in the Saturday Evening Post. It was reprinted in book form by Simon & Schuster later that year, adapted into a movie (with John Wayne!) the year after, and became a bestseller. It had entered into the murky realm of cult literary classic when it was adapted to film for a second time (with Jeff Bridges!) in 2010, and now I’d rate it as Pretty Famous. If you haven’t read the novel, I will tell you that—even for someone who doesn’t typically go in for Westerns—it is wonderful, due in large part to its narrator, Mattie Ross. There may be action and adventure between these pages, but Mattie Ross’s voice is what makes this novel unforgettable. As Ed Park once put it, Mattie’s “steadfast, unsentimental voice—Portis’s sublime ventriloquism—maintains such purity of purpose that the prose seems engraved rather than merely writ.”

more here.