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Norwood (1966)

de Charles Portis

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5162247,186 (3.97)19
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, sympathe… (mais)
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If you haven't read Charles Portis, famed author of True Grit, what are you doing with your life?

Portis’s first novel kicks off what is to be a central theme in all his books: the road trip. In each of his books, the central character embarks on a quest, even if it’s a small one, in which they encounter colorful characters and danger.

In Norwood, it’s ex-Marine and aspiring hillbilly music playing Norwood Pratt. Giving you a description of the book almost feels wrong, because there are so many strange and wonderful aspects, they seem best served as a surprise. But here goes: Norwood is hired by sketchy Grady Fring (The Kredit King) to drive an Oldsmobile from Texas to New York City. It turns out Norwood's mission is nothing more than a fool's errand in the end and well, New York City ain't fit for a man of Norwood's demeanor.

Really the story is about how life happens through our daily encounters. Along the way on his journey, Norwood meets the second-shortest midget in show business; a woman who steals his heart; and a college-educated chicken.

This book is flat-out hilarious and its truth lies in the journey you go with Norwood. Don't pass this book up. ( )
  ryantlaferney87 | Dec 8, 2023 |
Funniest novel I’ve read in a long time. Like the Coen brothers rewriting Beckett. A kaleidoscope of whacked Americana stuffed with gutbusting dialogue. Gotta get me some more Portis pronto! ( )
  yarb | Sep 5, 2022 |
I wonder if Vince Gilligan, creator of Breaking Bad and the villain Gustavo Fring, is a fan of this book. An antagonist in the plot shares the same last name. This book is hilarious, although it was sometimes jarring to have references to television and other mid century inventions. The whole scenario seemed to be taking place in the 30s.
Also? Heavy use of the N word. You’ve been warned. I do recommend the book but that was problematic. ( )
  flemertown | Jul 10, 2021 |
Another hilarious picaresque novel about a loser pointlessly careening across the country. Since I read The Dog of the South first, even though Norwood was actually his first book I kept thinking "gee, this reminds of The Dog of the South", but this is a little different. It seems to have a little more loose energy in it, more reminiscent of On the Road. "It's about the journey, not the destination" is a good way to summarize how it comes across, since there's much more traveling in this book and there's not really much of a solid ending. Even though it was very funny (check out the boots scene on the train, or Norwood's fights with his sister's boyfriend), I don't know if I would have read his other works if I'd found it first, just because even though it has his trademark deadpan voice and great dialogue (yet again, if you've ever spent any time in the south you will recognize all these people instantly), the book doesn't quite have the heights that the other did. At the risk of overdosing on Portis, Masters of Atlantis is next. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
This is the first Charles Portis book I’ve read, and I’m still not completely sure what to think. It was hilarious in parts, witty in parts, and down right confounding in parts. The confounding part was basically the entire story (completely character driven) that just refused to conform to any sort of expected plot points. But the writing is so good that it didn’t matter.

This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read. I enjoyed it enough to grab his more well-known books and keep exploring his work. ( )
  rumbledethumps | Mar 23, 2021 |
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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, sympathe

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