Sunday, July 25, 2010

Five best novels on success

Tad Friend is the author of Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of Wasp Splendor.

For the Wall Street Journal he named a five best list of novels on success.

One title on the list:
True Grit
by Charles Portis

"True Grit" calls to mind Cormac McCarthy's sanguinary meditations on the border, but Charles Portis details the savagery of the 1870s frontier through an astonishing narrative voice: that of the 14-year-old Mattie Ross, a flinty, skeptical, Bible-thumping scourge. Mattie hires a federal marshal and rides into the Oklahoma territory to find the coward who shot her father, and her outrage brings order to the wilderness—an order predicated on the deaths of half a dozen outlaws, some of them guilty of rather little. The book is dryly hilarious yet gradually mournful, for Mattie is recalling these events years later, as a well-to-do but cranky spinster. Her readers know how much she had to offer, but no suitor ever saw it. For Mattie—and, Portis suggests, for the country—once the West was won, the rest was afterglow.
Read about the other books on the list.

True Grit also appears on Willy Vlautin's list of five great books set in the West and Jonathan Lethem's list of five terrific novels overshadowed by their film versions.

Also see Tad Friend's list of the seven best fiction books about WASPs.

--Marshal Zeringue