The Complete Stories of Truman Capote

Written by: Truman Capote, Reynolds Price

The Complete Stories of Truman Capote Book Cover
A landmark collection that brings together Truman Capote’s life’s work in the form he called his “great love,” The Complete Stories confirms Capote’s status as a master of the short story.
Ranging from the gothic South to the chic East Coast, from rural children to aging urban sophisticates, all the unforgettable places and people of Capote’s oeuvre are here, in stories as elegant as they are heartfelt, as haunting as they are compassionate. Reading them reminds us of the miraculous gifts of a beloved American original.
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The Complete Stories of Truman Capote Reviews

Arwen56
Ciao Truman.

Mi intristisce davvero tanto, credimi, vederti sdraiato lì, sul letto, immemore di te stesso, circondato da bottiglie vuote e altri più spiacevoli segni dell’umana fragilità. Oh, lo so che da questa particolare crisi ti riprenderai, ma poi ce ne sarà un’altra e poi un’altra e un’altra ancora, sino all’ultima, quella fatale, quella in cui darai definitivamente forfait.
Ti prendo la mano, ok? Non posso fare altro per te, perché io arrivo dal futuro e tu sei già morto da tanti anni. Sen Ciao Truman.

Mi intristisce davvero tanto, credimi, vederti sdraiato lì, sul letto, immemore di te stesso, circondato da bottiglie vuote e altri più spiacevoli segni dell’umana fragilità. Oh, lo so che da questa particolare crisi ti riprenderai, ma poi ce ne sarà un’altra e poi un’altra e un’altra ancora, sino all’ultima, quella fatale, quella in cui darai definitivamente forfait.
Ti prendo la mano, ok? Non posso fare altro per te, perché io arrivo dal futuro e tu sei già morto da tanti anni. Senza contare che abito a centinaia di chilometri da te. Ma possiamo ricordare assieme, questo sì. Ti va?

Ti rammenti quando hai detto “Ho sempre saputo che ero in grado di prendere un qualsiasi grappolo di parole, di lanciarlo in aria per poi vederlo ricadere nel modo giusto”? Beh, era vero. Lo sapevi fare. Eccome. Magari non proprio sempre, ma molto spesso sì.

Prendiamo Holly, ad esempio. La Holly del tuo romanzo, naturalmente, non quella del film Colazione da Tiffany, che è stata un’altra cosa.
La tua Holly era il desiderio con la “d” maiuscola, era l’irrequietezza, era la volontà di essere altrove (sempre “in transito”, come diceva il suo biglietto da visita), era l’insoddisfazione, era la curiosità, era il non poter mai essere “a casa”, era una ferita aperta, era la paura, era la voglia e il timore di amare, era la necessità di qualcosa di solido che non avrebbe mai potuto trovare realizzazione. La tua Holly eri tu, Truman. Costantemente in fuga e costantemente alla ricerca di qualcosa o qualcuno che ti desse delle radici. Ma non le hai mai trovate. Solo il gatto senza nome è, alla fine, riuscito nell’intento. Forse. Ma non è proprio certo. Per questo, a tutt’oggi, se si scrutano con attenzione le sobrie vetrine di Tiffany&Co., sulla Quinta Strada, è ancora possibile vedervi riflessa l’immagine di un uomo con un’espressione arrogante e mesta al contempo e di un gatto rossiccio e malmesso che, ciò nonostante, “muove la coda come se dirigesse una rapsodia”. Perché lì non ti può succedere nulla di male. O almeno lo si spera. Una sia pur piccola illusione (o una “vestina per coprire gli ignudi”, come avrebbe detto Pirandello) bisogna ben averla.
Capisco benissimo che ti sia incazzato come una biscia quando hai scoperto in quale banale e scontata figura il cinema avesse trasformato Holly, dopo che gliene avevi venduti i diritti. Non perché il film in sé non funzioni, intendiamoci, infatti ormai è diventato quasi un cult movie, bensì perché hanno completamente stravolto il senso del tuo romanzo. Ne hanno fatto una donnetta qualsiasi, vagamente eccentrica ed esageratamente e improbabilmente “raffinata” (non per nulla Audrey Hepburn aveva già efficacemente interpretato My Fair Lady, nel lontano 1964), ma sostanzialmente identica nelle aspirazioni a una casalinga di Milano, Roma o Timbuctù. Ma lei non era così. E tu non eri così. Eri un uomo difficile, contraddittorio, insicuro e anche un tantino stronzo, diciamocelo, però non eri così.
Forse avevi ragione quando sostenevi che avrebbe dovuto essere Marilyn Monroe a interpretare Holly e non Audrey Hepburn. Ma, considerando i cambiamenti introdotti nella trama, tutto sommato riconoscerai che la sua smilza figura e il suo vago androginismo, in qualche modo, contrabbandano nelle immagini ciò che si è cercato di cancellare a tutti i costi dal tessuto della storia che tu avevi scritto e cioè il fatto che potrebbe anche trattarsi di un “ragazzino” invece che di una “ragazzina”. Sia pur in tono sommesso e del tutto involontario, la Hepburn ti ha reso una qualche ragione. Non è molto, lo ammetto, ma meglio che niente.

Cerca di riprenderti, Truman, anche se sarà una faticaccia dopo tutto quell’alcol e quei sonniferi che hai buttato giù. I soccorsi arriveranno a breve, vedrai. Lo so per certo. Arrivo dal futuro, come ti ho detto. E intanto ascoltami, non ti addormentare di nuovo. Ti farei un caffè, se potessi.
Lo sai che tutte le volte che riprendo in mano quello straordinario libro che è A sangue freddo la sua bellezza torna a commuovermi? Quanti anni ci hai speso per scriverlo, Truman? Cinque? Sei? Una cosa del genere, mi par di ricordare. E quante polemiche, poi. Quante accuse ti sono state rivolte ... voyeur, cinico, profittatore, insensibile ... Ma tu Perry lo dovevi comprendere, lo dovevi capire, lo dovevi indagare, lo dovevi “sviscerare”, perché Perry saresti potuto essere tu se non avessi avuto talento nello scrivere. Per questo, a modo tuo, gli hai voluto sinceramente bene e hai cercato di aiutarlo, benché colpevole fosse. Anche se, ad essere amaramente oggettivi, quanto ti ha davvero giovato avere talento?
Dai, fai uno sforzo e tirati su. Puzzi niente male, lo sai? Vabbè, appoggia la testa sul cuscino.
Ti leggo un pezzetto del commento che ho scritto riguardo a questo tuo romanzo su aNobii, un social network dedicato alla letteratura che nascerà in futuro. Non sto neppure a spiegarti cosa sia un social network, tanto, giustamente, non te ne fregherebbe niente. Però so che le mie parole ti lusingheranno, perché sei molto vanitoso. Stai a sentire ...

La copertina della mia copia di A sangue freddo è molto rovinata e le mancano persino due “angolini”, in alto ed in basso. L’edizione risale al 1969 e costava 500 lire. Le pagine sono ingiallite e molto ruvide. Ma, nonostante tutto ciò, continua a contenere una delle storie meglio narrate che io abbia mai letto, una di quelle storie che non ti dimentichi, una di quelle storie che finiscono per far parte della tua vita, una di quelle storie che, dopo averla terminata, ti fa capire finalmente il motivo per cui è assolutamente necessario imparare a leggere.
Per me, i Clutter non sono mai stati un’anonima famiglia americana morta tanto tempo fa. Io i Clutter li “conosco”. Dick e Perry non sono mai stati i due balordi che li hanno trucidati nel 1959. Io Dick e Perry li “conosco”.
Li “conosco” come se fossi stata lì, quel fatidico, ultimo giorno di metà novembre, a guardare con ansia Nancy che nascondeva il “suo bene più caro”, l’orologio donatole dal padre, in fondo ad una scarpa, amorevolmente avvolto in un fazzoletto. Li “conosco” come se avessi provato io stessa quell’impulso, che ha provato Bonnie, a chiudere il ventaglietto di carta in miniatura tra le mani inquiete della piccola Jolene. Li “conosco” come se mi fossi soffermata un momento a riflettere, assieme ad Herbert, su ciò che era stata e su ciò che sarebbe stata in futuro la mia vita, prima di firmare una consistente polizza assicurativa. Li “conosco” come se avessi passato la serata a lucidare con Kenyon la cassapanca che sarebbe stata il regalo donato a Beverly per il suo matrimonio. Li “conosco” come se avessi personalmente ascoltato le deliranti sbruffonate che Dick raccontava a Wells in carcere. Li “conosco” come se Perry avesse confidato proprio a me che non è che ce l’avesse con i Clutter, ma “forse è solo che i Clutter erano quelli che la dovevano pagare per tutti”.
Li “conosco” perché dalla penna e dalla pena di quest’uomo, Truman Capote, è uscita una storia che è insieme tristemente vera e meravigliosamente letteraria, una storia che è talvolta superbamente descritta e talvolta solo pudicamente accennata. Non cambierei neppure una virgola di quel che Capote ha scritto, poiché ogni elemento si incastra perfettamente nell’altro. Non vi è nulla di ridondante e nulla di eccessivamente restio. E’ uno di quei rari casi in cui l’equilibrio delle emozioni e delle parole usate per esprimerle raggiunge la massima efficacia. A sangue freddo, in fondo, non lo si legge, lo si vive.

Ci hanno fatto anche dei film, sai, sul tuo romanzo più famoso. Tre, per la precisione. Uno hai fatto in tempo a vederlo, gli altri due no, perché eri già morto. A me gli ultimi due sono piaciuti. Il primo ancora non ho avuto modo di recuperarlo. Parlano soprattutto della tua persona. E questo sarebbe piaciuto a te.

Sei pallidissimo, Truman. Lo so che stai male. Ma tieni duro, anche se sei di nuovo sprofondato in un torpore comatoso.
Forse è meglio così, perché, sinceramente, devo dirti che i tuoi racconti non li ho del tutto graditi. Li ho letti tutti, ma non sono riuscita a ritrovarvi la tua “musica”, se non a tratti. C’è tanta disperazione e paura e angoscia e spaesamento. I migliori sono quelli in cui concedi a te stesso una “pausa” e immagini, ad esempio, che possa anche esserci un mondo in cui il piccolo Appleseed riesce a indovinare la cifra totale ed esatta dei nickel contenuti in una brocca trasparente semplicemente sedendovi di fronte e, con pazienza, “contandoli”. O quello in cui Tico Feo ce la fa a scappare di prigione, anche se senza la sua amata “chitarra di diamanti”.

Sì, Truman, non vi è dubbio. Eri quasi sempre in grado di “prendere qualsiasi grappolo di parole e di lanciarlo in aria per poi vederlo ricadere nel modo giusto”. Ma non eri in grado di vivere. Nonostante tutte le tue conoscenze famose, nonostante il tuo partecipare con ostinazione a tanti eventi mondani, nonostante la tua intelligenza e la tua bravura di artista, c’era e c’è sempre stato in te un grumo amaro di sofferenza che non si scioglieva mai, che non ti dava tregua, né requie. E quando anche Jack ha finito per abbandonarti, lui, il tuo compagno di una vita, forse hai pensato che nulla valesse più davvero la pena. E ti sei lasciato andare. Io non sono credente, come te del resto. Ma anche solo la semplice morte, senza alcuna promessa di paradiso, sono sicura ti abbia regalato non dico la pace, ma la fine del tuo tormento certamente sì.

Ora ti lascio mano, Truman, perché, sia pur a malincuore, devo andare e tornare nel mio mondo. Non mi sentirai, ovviamente, ma grazie te lo dico lo stesso, perché leggerti è stato un piacere prezioso.

PS: Truman Capote nasce a New Orleans il 30 settembre 1924 e muore a Bel Air il 25 agosto 1984, a soli 60 anni. A sangue freddo resta a tutt’oggi uno dei migliori libri che io abbia mai letto.

Laurent
One of my favourite writers to date. Capote has the unique ability to move a reader, though they might not know quite why.
Julio
Es sorprendente que el autor de la objetiva, periodística, casi despiadada reconstrucción de un asesinato múltiple (A Sangre Fría) haya creado una colección de cuentos donde lo mas notable es su sensibilidad e intimidad. Cada cuento, que refleja pequeños momentos, memorias, encuentros, todos casi furtivos, algo etéreos, se cuenta con la delicadeza de un alma, quizá dolida, quizá hasta torturada, pero gentil y delicada. Uno tiene la impresión de ser un testigo involuntario, hasta indeseado, de pe Es sorprendente que el autor de la objetiva, periodística, casi despiadada reconstrucción de un asesinato múltiple (A Sangre Fría) haya creado una colección de cuentos donde lo mas notable es su sensibilidad e intimidad. Cada cuento, que refleja pequeños momentos, memorias, encuentros, todos casi furtivos, algo etéreos, se cuenta con la delicadeza de un alma, quizá dolida, quizá hasta torturada, pero gentil y delicada. Uno tiene la impresión de ser un testigo involuntario, hasta indeseado, de pedazos de vida a los cuales uno no ha sido invitado, pero que es imposible obviar. Un buen descubrimiento.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 :: Looking Backward: 2000-1887 :: Fog Magic :: The Illuminatus! Trilogy :: اسرار گنج دره جنی
Rory
He is a master story teller but his real strength still seems to be his true crime works. The one thing that held me up with this book was how long it has taken to read--each story needs to truly sink in before I could move on through to the next one which held up my book reading project. But it is very much worth the effort
Tamelyn Feinstein
Most of these stories I had read previously, in other collected works. Still, there were several new ones, especially several early ones, that I hadn't yet read. Soon, I will have read everything written by Truman Capote. Then I will be sad that I have nothing else to read by Truman Capote. Any suggestions?
latner3
'One of the century's greatest storytellers'.Can't argue with that.Just brilliant passionate,au courant of beautiful and quite profound fables of life.Amazing.
Coralyn
Excellent short stories. The contradictions in human nature and the author's understanding of its many facettes are showcased here. The stories with Miss Sook are particularly poignant.
Mark R.
“The Complete Stories” is an excellent collection of Truman Capote’s shorter works, presented in the order in which they were written.

Of the twenty stories that make up this collection, at least a dozen are very good. Of the others, none were bad, all at least of decent quality, and there was one I must admit confused me. I could probably stand to give “The Headless Hawk” another read (and was gratified when I looked up info on the story and found that this is considered to be one of his most co “The Complete Stories” is an excellent collection of Truman Capote’s shorter works, presented in the order in which they were written.

Of the twenty stories that make up this collection, at least a dozen are very good. Of the others, none were bad, all at least of decent quality, and there was one I must admit confused me. I could probably stand to give “The Headless Hawk” another read (and was gratified when I looked up info on the story and found that this is considered to be one of his most complex stories; so I’m only half-stupid for not understanding it).

Here are my favorites from “The Complete Stories”:

“A Mink of One’s Own” – A woman is contacted by a long-lost friend, who tries to sell her a mink coat for a thousand dollars. She agrees to a lower cost, but soon realizes she’ll probably never hear from her “friend” again.

“Jug of Silver” – For months a poor loner of a child calculates and waits for the day the local shop owner will reveal the winner of his “guess how many nickels are in this jar” contest.

“Miriam” – A woman is haunted by a little girl. Is she real or just a piece of the woman’s slowly deteriorating mind?

“My Side of the Matter” – An odd tale of a man confined to his new bride’s house, which is owned by two domineering women. They mentally break this man down, until he simply can bare it no more.

“Preacher’s Legend” – An elderly African-American comes across two men in the woods behind his home, and is convinced they are Jesus and an unnamed Saint come to take him off to heaven. Only, he isn’t ready to go!

“Children On Their Birthdays” – A precocious ten-year-old girl moves into town, and despite her off-putting language and habits, attracts the attention of every male, age ten to thirteen, in the vicinity. The story opens with a bit of ominous foreshadowing that makes the reader wonder when, in the mostly pleasant tale, the sadness will strike.

“Master Misery” – Probably my favorite in the collection, this story concerns a woman who begins selling her dreams, quite literally, to a miserly old man. She befriends another of the old man’s clients, an alcoholic who has sold all of his dreams and has nothing else to offer in exchange for a few bucks for whiskey.

“Diamond Guitar,” “House of Flowers,” and “A Christmas Memory” were previously published along with the novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and are each among Capote’s best short stories. The first is about a friendship between an older con and a new, tricky arrival who plays a diamond guitar. “Flowers” is about a young woman who leaves the comfort of her brothel to marry a man she barely knows, whose mother challenges her as soon as she arrives. This one is set in Haiti, and has some hints of the supernatural. In “A Christmas Memory” the narrator looks back on youthful adventures with a dotty older relative (referred to by the narrator as “my friend”). The two explore their hometown, which the older woman has never left, and bake fruitcakes for the neighbors, before the years settle on them and their friendship comes to a predictable, and sad, end.

“The Thanksgiving Visitor” – The child and his older, distant cousin, from “A Christmas Memory” return. This time the woman (here referred to as Mrs. Sook) preparing for the big Thanksgiving meal, includes in her invitation, in addition to the usual family and friends, a neighbor boy who’s been beating up on the narrator.

The final story, “One Christmas,” again features the narrator from “Thanksgiving Visitor” and “Christmas Memory,” this time leaving Ms. Sook’s house to go see his estranged father in New Orleans. An interesting note: the narrator making mention of a prized BB gun, which he once used to kill a mockingbird, something he immediately and forever regretted.
Olivia Elarbi
At one point in time, somewhere, somehow, Truman Capote was the most talked about man in America. He was lionized by the press; adored by his vast readership and scorned by his peers for his brilliance and success. His social life and wild public appearances, his flamboyance and high profile connections were the stuff of legend. His unequaled talent for self promotion coupled with rare literary talent propelled him to unprecedented fame. He has been the subject of countless books, movies, plays, At one point in time, somewhere, somehow, Truman Capote was the most talked about man in America. He was lionized by the press; adored by his vast readership and scorned by his peers for his brilliance and success. His social life and wild public appearances, his flamboyance and high profile connections were the stuff of legend. His unequaled talent for self promotion coupled with rare literary talent propelled him to unprecedented fame. He has been the subject of countless books, movies, plays, T.V shows, and his great, albeit limited, portfolio of work is still very much in high demand.

And so, it is no surprise that such a collection written by such a man is as impressive as it is. There are twenty stories in this collection written over the span of some forty years. They range from heartfelt and humorous to wickedly twisted to gothic and eerie in perspective. Some of my favorites like Miriam, an eerie gothic story about a strange little girl who begins to terrorize a lonely widow, and My Side of the Matter, a humorous tale of a man who is held prisoner of his wife and her family, differ in scale and mood, yet there is always the same undeniable style and wit that ties them together. Others, The Walls are Cold for example, that lack plot and much character development, glimmer in their own right as beautifully crafted pieces of short fiction.

Kathy Crowl
This book contains two of my all time favorite Truman Capote short stories, The Thanksgiving Visitor and A Christmas Memory, made into a film with Geraldine Page in 1967. A Christmas Memory moves me to tears each time I read it or see the film. A tender and heartwarming tale of a simpler time it never grows old. A brilliant story teller.
Levi Jiorle
Loved most of these stories, in particular The Headless Hawk, A Diamond Guitar, Master Misery, and A Tree of Night. But holy shit, Capote really pissed away his talent with his last few published stories. In Cold Blood was his last hurrah.
Doc
I had read all of these stories decades ago and it was wonderful to revisit them with a much better understanding of the writer's craft.
Ernesto Castro Herrera
Leer a Capote es como ir en balsa sobre un río de avena.
Valentina
Es fascinante cómo transmite sensaciones, ideas o sentimientos complejos con una sola frase; y lo líricas, pero concisas que son sus descripciones. Mis preferidos: 'Miriam' y 'Profesor Miseria'.
Chance Lee
I read a little over half the stories in the book before I had to return it to the library.

These are the stories I read:
The Walls Are Cold
A Mink of One's Own
The Shape of Things
Jug of Silver
Miriam [I've read this one before]
My Side of the Matter
Preacher's Legend
A Tree of Night
The Headless Hawk
Children on Their Birthdays

These are the stories I didn't read:
Shut a Final Door
Master Misery
The Bargain
A Diamond Guitar
House of Flowers
A Christmas Memory
Among the Paths to Eden
The Thanksgiving Visitor
Mojav I read a little over half the stories in the book before I had to return it to the library.

These are the stories I read:
The Walls Are Cold
A Mink of One's Own
The Shape of Things
Jug of Silver
Miriam [I've read this one before]
My Side of the Matter
Preacher's Legend
A Tree of Night
The Headless Hawk
Children on Their Birthdays

These are the stories I didn't read:
Shut a Final Door
Master Misery
The Bargain
A Diamond Guitar
House of Flowers
A Christmas Memory
Among the Paths to Eden
The Thanksgiving Visitor
Mojave
One Christmas

Those are all the stories in this book.

Many of the stories are interesting as relics of the time period, a time period when people actually read and wrote short stories and many of them have some sort of moral. In more than one people drink NE-HI. Others are racy and weird and I liked those most.

Here is what I thought about the stories I read.

The Walls Are Cold (1943) **** - Single girls invite sailors to their apartment. Mildred gets a kiss from one of them then kicks him out of the apartment. She thinks Mississippi is ugly -- "Oh yes," she lied. "A beautiful state."

A Mink of One's Own (1944) *** - A sad housewife who lies to get people to like her gets a visit from an old friend, one whom she holds on a pedestal. The friend sells her a lovely mink coat (because she needs the money) and coat turns out to be threadbare like their friendship, a lie like the housewife.

The Shape of Things (1944) *** - Three people eat on a train. A soldier coming home from war sits next to them and they're all grossed out because he's a drunk. But then they buy him coffee because he's a veteran.

Jug of Silver (1945) ***** - A man runs a contest to win business away from a rival general store in a small town: count coins in a jar, whoever guesses right wins the coins. "You look at those nickels and dimes and what do you think: ah, so much! No, no. You think: ah, /how/ much? And that's a profound question, indeed. It can mean different things to different people. Understand?" Someone guess the amount and wins the money.

Miriam (1945) *** - Creepy girl haunts woman.

My Side of the Matter (1945) ** - Crazy man acts crazy.

Preacher's Legend (1945) * - Capote pretends he is Eudora Welty and writes about a silly negro. Those negroes, so silly.

A Tree of Night (1945) ** - A woman is harassed by gypsies on a train, ends up gypped.

The Headless Hawk (1946) ** - A creepy man in his 30s sleeps with a 17 year old crazy girl. Surprised to find out she's crazy.

Children on Their Birthdays (1948) ***** - Weird little girl comes to town, does fun things, her talent show performance reminds me of the time Lisa Simpson performed proud Mary, catches a swindler, swindles some boys herself to get money to go to Hollywood, gets hit by bus, dies. Great story.
Eric Steere
Capote's prose never goes astray with the idiom of the short story that enraptures as bougainvillea climbing easily without reproach and the attention it caresses from the least of naturalists. These stories sweetened my heart with the tender potential just 30 pages offer him. Capote writes the best, these architectonic sentences, the honest and effective charm that distinguishes him from so many great mid20th century writers. With my other Capote experiences, From true crime novel In Cold Blood Capote's prose never goes astray with the idiom of the short story that enraptures as bougainvillea climbing easily without reproach and the attention it caresses from the least of naturalists. These stories sweetened my heart with the tender potential just 30 pages offer him. Capote writes the best, these architectonic sentences, the honest and effective charm that distinguishes him from so many great mid20th century writers. With my other Capote experiences, From true crime novel In Cold Blood to Breakfast at Tiffany's, these stories sing with both a levity and high seriousness somewhere between. Capote is able to to reserve authorial judgement from intimate detail, kind to the reader, with blessings through lyrical vernacular into increasingly familiar environs (read these stories and let him ease your displacement). His art is unique if limited in scope, and perhaps this is why his composition (of dialogue especially) reflects effortlessness that only conviction and confidence married with an absolute mastery of narrative and craft can produce. We also learn some capote here, opposite to contemporaries like Bowles and Mailler, the genesis of his southern perspective. I find the same delight in both the detail and musicality, they are inviting stories as easy banter in peeling white painted arm chairs over sweet tea on an Alabama porch. At his best, capote is comfortable and tender, the comfort of collards and biscuits with gravy and fresh milk. Unlike most contemporary fiction, Capote doesn't take himself too seriously, which might account for gaps in his fourty year career. These stories speak clearly to my soul, in a tone that is familiar even as it is adopted through reading itself, quickly, cleverly, and without pretense or show. A model writer. Great collection. One of the true masters of the short story, a kinder and breathable take on the idiom that Fitzgerald , Hemingway, and Carver activated for me.
Adam
Having read and loved “Other Voices Other Rooms,” I was interested in checking out more by Capote. I didn’t know he was a short story writer until I came across this anthology in a ridiculous consignment used book store in Vermont, organized by seller!

Capote’s earliest stories felt surprisingly amateur. Some of them dating back to the 40’s, they read a bit cheesy in a dated way. A few reminded me of Bradbury stories, though less fantastical. Some, like “Jug of Silver,” painted scenes of small-t Having read and loved “Other Voices Other Rooms,” I was interested in checking out more by Capote. I didn’t know he was a short story writer until I came across this anthology in a ridiculous consignment used book store in Vermont, organized by seller!


Capote’s earliest stories felt surprisingly amateur. Some of them dating back to the 40’s, they read a bit cheesy in a dated way. A few reminded me of Bradbury stories, though less fantastical. Some, like “Jug of Silver,” painted scenes of small-town quirkiness and mystery, but lacked a quality of drama. Others, like “A Tree of Night” and “Miriam,” began as genuinely creepy, but developed a tiring sense of suspense before falling flat with an abrupt ending.

For me, the last 4 stories are real gems. “Among the Paths of Eden” really showcases Capote’s skill at narrating characters’ internal and external dialogues. “Mojave” has a real cinematic quality, with an unpredictable flashback story that constructs a neat parallel to the main narrative. “The Thanksgiving Visitor” and especially “One Christmas” are painful and touching.

But by far, “A Christmas Memory” is the best; a semi-autobiographical and nostalgic piece that invites you into the story and to share the memory. It begins,

“Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar.”

It’s an incredibly warm reflection on friendship and a sympathetic portrait of a misfit adult. The protagonist’s appreciation and love for You’d be forgiven for skipping the bulk of the book, but you’d really be missing out if you didn’t sit down with “A Christmas Memory.”
Nuska
"Se preguntó por qué la excentricidad siempre le provocaba esa curiosa admiración [...] siempre se había enamorado de personas que tenían algo un tanto equívoco, resquebrajado. De cualquier forma era extraño que la misma cualidad que empezaba atrayéndole terminara por repugnarle". (108).

"Películas. Otra vez. En el último mes había visto tantas que fragmentos de diálogo de Hollywood interrumpían sus sueños [...] ella iba al cine, así lloviera o nevara. Vincent era suficientemente sensible para s "Se preguntó por qué la excentricidad siempre le provocaba esa curiosa admiración [...] siempre se había enamorado de personas que tenían algo un tanto equívoco, resquebrajado. De cualquier forma era extraño que la misma cualidad que empezaba atrayéndole terminara por repugnarle". (108).

"Películas. Otra vez. En el último mes había visto tantas que fragmentos de diálogo de Hollywood interrumpían sus sueños [...] ella iba al cine, así lloviera o nevara. Vincent era suficientemente sensible para saber por qué [...] en cierto modo, era como la religión: al ver las cambiantes siluetas en blanco y negro experimentaba una liberación de la conciencia semejante a la que uno encuentra en la confesión". (120).

"A la mañana siguiente desperté con un fuerte resfriado, lo cual resultaba agradable. Significaba no ir al colegio. Significaba también que tendría fuego en mi habitación y sopa de crema de tomate y horas de soledad con Mr.Micawber y David Copperfield: la mayor dicha de las enfermedades". (279-280).

"No hay diferencia. Se ama o no se ama. Se destruye o no se destruye". (301).

Adoro a Truman Capote. Si ya es un escritor inconmensurable como novelista, en su faceta de cuentista es un verdadero artista de la palabra. A sus cuentos jamás les falta ni les sobra nada. Perfectos, acabados, precisos. Cada palabra está en su frase y tiempo exacto. Porque por supuesto, los cuentos de Capote tienen ritmo. Debe ser una auténtica gozada que un buen narrador te los lea. De lo único que me arrepiento es de que no me quede nada nuevo de su obra por leer.
Tracey
I couldn't remember having read anything by Capote, except perhaps a short story in English class. The recent movie (which I haven't yet seen) helped me decide to try out this collection.

I enjoyed nearly every story, even the more depressing ones. Several were definitely in the Southern Gothic tradition - "Miriam" with the spooky little girl who invades the life of a spinster, and "A Tree of Night", where a young woman returning home from a funeral is accosted on a train. Other stories had more I couldn't remember having read anything by Capote, except perhaps a short story in English class. The recent movie (which I haven't yet seen) helped me decide to try out this collection.

I enjoyed nearly every story, even the more depressing ones. Several were definitely in the Southern Gothic tradition - "Miriam" with the spooky little girl who invades the life of a spinster, and "A Tree of Night", where a young woman returning home from a funeral is accosted on a train. Other stories had more than a touch of darkish humour - "My Side of the Matter" where a young groom deals with his eccentric wife's family and "Children on their Birthdays", where I at least, had completely forgotten the impact of the first sentence until I read the last.
"Headless Hawk" was pleasantly surreal, where "House of Flowers" felt like Gabriel Garcia-Marquez or Jose Luis Borges, as much for the subject as the style. However, I think my favorites were the based-on-autobiography holiday stories. "A Christmas Memory", "One Christmas" and "A Thanksgiving Visitor". Capote's very odd upbringing provides the source for these 3 charming, funny and touching stories.
I must admit the cover of the copy I read - a young Capote staring smolderingly into the camera, captured in black and white rather added to my enjoyment of the book, despite my knowledge of his sexual preferences. ;^)

Recommended to anyone looking for a collection of short stories to help you escape for a few hours.
Corey Murray
When I graduated college about 13 years ago, and had a lot of time on my hands, I went through a Truman Capote phase. I read everything of his I could get my hands on, which, as anyone familiar with Capote's writing knows, is not a huge body of work. The short stories available to me back then included the three that are usually printed with Breakfast at Tiffany's ("A Diamond Guitar," "House of Flowers," and the wonderful "A Christmas Memory"), and the stories that make up A Tree of Night and Ot When I graduated college about 13 years ago, and had a lot of time on my hands, I went through a Truman Capote phase. I read everything of his I could get my hands on, which, as anyone familiar with Capote's writing knows, is not a huge body of work. The short stories available to me back then included the three that are usually printed with Breakfast at Tiffany's ("A Diamond Guitar," "House of Flowers," and the wonderful "A Christmas Memory"), and the stories that make up A Tree of Night and Other Stories. All those and many more are at last included in this collection of short stories by one of America's most gifted writers.

Capote explored a world that was often bizarre and sometimes brutal, with alienation at its core. Even his stories about friendship are usually offset by a sense of loss, for the friends are usually a pair of outsiders who must rely on one another for love and acceptance. His stories are set in Manhattan apartments, city streets, the Gothic South, and even the mountains of Port Au Prince. You'll fall in love with Capote's gift of language and marvel that he was only 19 when he published his first story, "The Walls Are Cold," in 1943. Hopefully these stories will entice you to move on to his novels, of which (like the stories) there are regrettably too few.
Cormac Zoso
Truman Capote is one of the three true masters of the American short story, along with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, and this complete collection of his short stories would be a well-loved gift to any fan of great literature. Capote, like his fellow masters, makes the small scenes of the short story so life-like you might mix them up with your own memories at times. They feel that genuine and lived in.

Where literary style is concerned, Capote is far closer to F. Scott than Hemingway Truman Capote is one of the three true masters of the American short story, along with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, and this complete collection of his short stories would be a well-loved gift to any fan of great literature. Capote, like his fellow masters, makes the small scenes of the short story so life-like you might mix them up with your own memories at times. They feel that genuine and lived in.

Where literary style is concerned, Capote is far closer to F. Scott than Hemingway and has the fine tender twisting of handmade lace. His is the traditional romantic style like Scott's rather than the muscular, short punches of Hemingway's modernist invention. But it is every bit as genuine -- his characters are breathing things that have human scent and give your mind recall of people vaguely known in your long-past childhood not to mention the scent and creaks of the various rooms the stories take place within.

Three volumes of short stories by Capote, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway will give you the finest American short stories available. Three necessary volumes in any literature collection.
Andrew
Capote is best known for his genre-breaking non-fiction/faction book 'In Cold Blood',& the novella that gave the world Holly Golightly,immortalised though transformed,by Audrey Hepburn in the film 'Breakfast At Tiffany's'. His short stories,however,are somewhat overlooked;they deserve both a readership & admiration, being some of the finest short stories written by 20th century Americans.The stories in ths collection illustrate Capote's brilliance at evoking childhood memory & adult Capote is best known for his genre-breaking non-fiction/faction book 'In Cold Blood',& the novella that gave the world Holly Golightly,immortalised though transformed,by Audrey Hepburn in the film 'Breakfast At Tiffany's'. His short stories,however,are somewhat overlooked;they deserve both a readership & admiration, being some of the finest short stories written by 20th century Americans.The stories in ths collection illustrate Capote's brilliance at evoking childhood memory & adult loneliness.They perspire nostalgia but they sweat,in the sultry southern state stories,pure sentiment.I enjoyed spending time in Capote's world of intense relationships between the generations,& the inevitable severing of emotional ties as life does its worst.These stories charm & appall by turns,& Capote's style captures such precious memories which often seem universally appropriate & heart-felt.Capote is a great writer...& I use the present tense deliberately.These stories feel fresh but taste of nostalgia.Recommened as an antidote to tricksy short stories with a 'twist in the tail'.
Andie1040
I love Capote's style in these stories. Reading them at the same times as the biography, I have so much respect for his awesome talent.
Hannah
I'm touched by Capote's writing style... he weaves his words and builds sentiment, rather than just tells a story. Not much may happen within the plot of his stories, but characters become real and their lives are touchable. My favorite so far is Children on Their Birthdays. The conclusion to that story choked me with its satirical finale.. I mean, I hope its satire! shocking and peculiar, to say the least. Mojave also hit home, as it takes place where I grew up, but during its heyday, and it ex I'm touched by Capote's writing style... he weaves his words and builds sentiment, rather than just tells a story. Not much may happen within the plot of his stories, but characters become real and their lives are touchable. My favorite so far is Children on Their Birthdays. The conclusion to that story choked me with its satirical finale.. I mean, I hope its satire! shocking and peculiar, to say the least. Mojave also hit home, as it takes place where I grew up, but during its heyday, and it exposes the trashier trailer side of the bleak desert life; the couple narrating that story have their own twisted realities that add an interesting element to the story.

Quickly I've seen how Capote is one of America's best story tellers, and I'm anxious to read his other tales.
Paul Gibson
I had the opportunity to read an excerpt from a short story, The Thanksgiving Visitor. I loved it and sought out a collection of his short stories. This book follows them chronologically from 1943 - 1982 with another treat added in 2012 (perhaps just for this Modern Library collection).
Having only read the one story, I was unaware how Hitchcock-like many of his stories were to be.
As a counterpoint to the darker tales, his Christmas and Thanksgiving stories (there are several) are wonderful.
I l I had the opportunity to read an excerpt from a short story, The Thanksgiving Visitor. I loved it and sought out a collection of his short stories. This book follows them chronologically from 1943 - 1982 with another treat added in 2012 (perhaps just for this Modern Library collection).
Having only read the one story, I was unaware how Hitchcock-like many of his stories were to be.
As a counterpoint to the darker tales, his Christmas and Thanksgiving stories (there are several) are wonderful.
I loved all the stories and his many styles of writing (and punctuating). A great introduction to, and overview of, his work over many years.
Patrick
Capote is a fantastic stylist, his characters and their environments are richly and deftly drawn, he is empathetic even towards the weakest of them, and he has a fine sense of humor centered around the human capacity for cruelty and stupidity (and, unlike his contemporary Southern writer, Flannery O'Connor, he also has room in his world for love). The best of these stories, the autobiographical A Christmas Memory, The Thanksgiving Visitor, and One Christmas are extremely moving. It takes him a w Capote is a fantastic stylist, his characters and their environments are richly and deftly drawn, he is empathetic even towards the weakest of them, and he has a fine sense of humor centered around the human capacity for cruelty and stupidity (and, unlike his contemporary Southern writer, Flannery O'Connor, he also has room in his world for love). The best of these stories, the autobiographical A Christmas Memory, The Thanksgiving Visitor, and One Christmas are extremely moving. It takes him a while to get up to speed as a writer (about 1947 or so, when he was all of 22!), but after that, it's very good stuff.
Jen
I liked some stories better than others, naturally. Some were too bleak and/or Southern gothic for me. The ones I gravitated towards were more touching or humorous (sometimes darkly), and they developed characters that were quirky and somehow innocent ("Jug of Silver," "Children on Their Birthdays," "Preacher's Legend," "A Diamond Guitar"). I think what I disliked in some of the others was not only the bleak outlook or lack of resolution, but also the harsh and pessimistic development of the cha I liked some stories better than others, naturally. Some were too bleak and/or Southern gothic for me. The ones I gravitated towards were more touching or humorous (sometimes darkly), and they developed characters that were quirky and somehow innocent ("Jug of Silver," "Children on Their Birthdays," "Preacher's Legend," "A Diamond Guitar"). I think what I disliked in some of the others was not only the bleak outlook or lack of resolution, but also the harsh and pessimistic development of the characters. All in all though, I did enjoy the book on the whole. Even in the stories that didn't suit my taste, the writing style kept me engaged and made the collection a good read.
Thomas Tyrer
I hadn't read Capote in a long time so figured I would go back and read one of his best formats, the short story. All of the stories in this complete collection have merit, but there are a few that are complete gems. Capote has a very strong, descriptive voice and an insight to match. He is most adept at capturing the small oddities that make us unique as human beings. I especially liked "Children on Their Birthdays" which delivers some quite interesting characters and a surprise ending foretold I hadn't read Capote in a long time so figured I would go back and read one of his best formats, the short story. All of the stories in this complete collection have merit, but there are a few that are complete gems. Capote has a very strong, descriptive voice and an insight to match. He is most adept at capturing the small oddities that make us unique as human beings. I especially liked "Children on Their Birthdays" which delivers some quite interesting characters and a surprise ending foretold in the first paragraph. The stories are uneven and diverse, but worth a read.
Sydnee
I don't know if many people realize that Capote was first and foremost a Southern writer and that identity touched everything he wrote. In fact he was the inspiration for Harper Lee's character Dill in "To Kill a Mockingbird." My favorite among his short stories is "Children on their Birthdays." A story that is funny, perceptive as only Capote can be, and reminds us about life gone too soon.
Simon Fletcher
Magnificent writing from start to finish but some of the stories particularly A Tree of Night felt rushed and unfinished. One wonders whether Capote was trying to be too clever.
The more biographical pieces though, A Christmas Memory, The Thanksgiving Visitor and One Christmas are magical and by far the best stories in the collection.
Raven
required reading for any Capote completist, but much like most required reading, I would have skipped it entirely had I not been trying to maintain some hold on my sad notion of intellectual elitism.
Favorite Quote: "“And so you want to know if I love you? Don’t be dumb, Walter, we’re not even friends....”
Tammy
Well, it wasn’t in this collection, but there were some good ones in this book. I realized as I read the book that I really like his style of writing, but the ones I liked best were the twisted or depressing ones! I look forward to finding Breakfast at Tiffany’s and reading it!
Josh
Sentimental chestnuts mixed with a quirky Midwest-meets-Manhattan sensibility. Truman Capote's about stylish, shiny surfaces, rounded edges, and menace underneath. The stories vary in quality but are always full of mischief.
Maquoketa
I thought that the beginning stories were too much like Flannery O'conner (who I like but not when I am wanting to read Truman Capote). As I kept reading the book I found that the later stories were trademark Capote and I loved them! Very southern grotesuque.
Emily
I think I'm a short story junkie. This is a nice collection. I especially appreaciate "A Christmas Memory". This stuff is beautifully written but not to flowery and over my head. I recomend it to everyone.
Pepe
Ventuno racconti perfetti, anche i primi, quelli dei vent'anni, forse non ancora dotati di una voce originalissima (che Capote acquiserà di lì a poco, confrontare "Un visone tutto suo" con "L'occasione") ma costruiti in mirabilmente. Un piacere da leggere.
jenna nims
I thought that the beginning stories were too much like Flannery O'conner (who I like but not when I am wanting to read Truman Capote). As I kept reading the book I found that the later stories were trademark Capote and I loved them! Very southern grotesuque.
Helen
It is a shame that these works have been overshadowed by In Cold Blood. Each one is a gem which sparkles with the fantasy of extraordinary characters in less than ordinary places. Capote was a master of the short story.
Deborah Schuff
I had first read this book about eight years ago. The stories are as wonderful as I remember. My favorites are "Miriam," "The Headless Hunter," and "Master Misery" for their sadness and strangeness.
Royce Ratterman
A good variety for those interested in this author's works.
Overall, a good book for the researcher and enthusiast.
Read for personal research
- found this book's contents helpful and inspiring - number rating relates to the book's contribution to my needs.
David
i LOVE LOVE LOVE Capote's stories! A Christmas Memory is one of our favorite tear producers each year, and his early story - Miriam - was one of the best Adult Storytime sessions I ever did - just a the kind of subtle, overwhelming horror you find in Shirley Jackson or John Collier.
Kendall
Love, love, love some of Capote's stories--especially the later ones. The earlier ones hint of his genius, but they are not solid from start to finish. Nevertheless, brilliant metaphors and descriptive language make them gems to read. I adored reading all of his short fiction.
Josh
Wonderfully written stories. Rare to find a collection of stories where I like them all but Truman Capote can always be relied on for beautifully written and touching stories, can safely say he is one of my favorite writers and look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
Nicole
A delightful collection of stories. Mostly positive and the endings are left fairly open to come to your own resolution. A nice break from some more serious reading. I like Capote's style. Very different from In Cold Blood.
Joyce
This book is delightful! It has a little of everything...the dark side of Capote and the light hearted Southern charm of books like The Grass Harp. It has even his earliest short stories that are really weird...
Jen
Different levels of personal appeal for me throughout, as is bound to happen with any complete collection. Overall very enjoyable, if only to watch Capote write about rural Alabama and chic New York with seemingly equal ease. Master Misery = bombass.
Tammy
Truman Capote is one of my favorite writers, and it is great to now have all of his stories in one volume. I had read many of these before, but there is always more to discover. His insight, character development, and descriptions are unique and enthralling.
Mark
Great, great read. In every story is a piece of Capote -- from the Manhattan wives to the children of the rural South. His characters are broken, sad and lonely. Beautiful narratives that range from the mundane and quiet to Twilight Zone-esque mind benders.
Laurajean
This made for interesting reading. There appears to be quite a bit of autobiographical material in these stories. I enjoyed the introduction, which gave intriguing information about Capote's life story. I remember him mostly as a talk show guest from the 70's. He was a good writer.
Jenice
I only read the Christmas stories so far, I plan on reading the others at a later date. I am a fan of Truman Capote's, I like his writing style. He is good at painting a picture and pulling you into the story. You feel the emotion he felt while living the story and while writing it.
John
This was so fun to read on the train to and from work everyday! The book provided quick glimpses into this great author's work. I'd recommend to anyone looking for some well-plotted, heart-felt short stories.
Lion Leonie
What a surreal land Capote lived in - his short stories dip in to reality and run away from it. They're very unlike his novels, but I actually prefer these imaginative, crazy stories that take me away. He has definitely become one of my favourite authors.
Amanda Klich
Loved this book! I could read it again and again. This has been my third time reading it in my life and it still made me laugh and made me stay up at all hours of the night to keep reading it. Love love LOVE it!
Nicholas Lyell
Some really great short stories in here. All pretty gothic/horror themed. I especially enjoyed "The Headless Hawk", though it was, as per usual, terribly depressing.

Skip the introduction, except for the biographical pieces about Capote.
Amy
There are some very well written stories in this collection. I really enjoyed all of them. The neat thing is that Truman Capote had an interesting background of being raised in the South and then living the high life in New York.
Brian
After a hundred pages, I was not enjoying these. I skipped to the story mentioned on the flyleaf as noteworthy. Didn't care for that one either, so I gave up. He tries to be fantastic in a way that wasn't interesting to me, in the same way that zombies aren't today.
Spielerdrei
Nicht unbedingt die Art von Kurzgeschichten, die ich gerne lese (welche mit tatsächlichem Ende, zum Beispiel), aber voller exquisiter Beschreibungen, sozialem Horror und der Erkenntnis, das ich niemals so gut schreiben werden kann.
Holly
I liked the ones that seemed most autobiographical, like the christmas and thanksgiving memories ones. some of the others were a bit too odd for my tastes, but still interesting.
Zac Crocker
Capote to me---raw, humanity, truth. love dis guy
Valkan
Capote's style and writing technique are simply inexplicable.
John
Amazing author, unmatched in sophistication and delivery of metropolitan subject matters.
Ta
Beautiful words, sentences... And the stories with such strange unsettling atmosphere.
Angela
Did not read all of the short stories, but I want to remember to come back to it. Loved all of the Buddy stories, plus a few others.
Kirk
agh, Capote's passion - the short story. Catalogued by date and what he was going through in his life, this collection of his works show what Capote was born to write about.
Brenda Morris
I've only read a couple stories out of this collection, but so far I really enjoy it.
Deb
Since my only exposure to Truman Capote was watching Breakfast at Tiffany's, I was surprised by how dark and twisted some of his writing is, but I can't wait to read more!!
Liam Porter
The best collection of short stories I've had the pleasure of reading. My Side of The Matter, Children on Their Birthdays, A Diamond Guitar, are all superb and the rest are excellent.
angrykitty
this was just a great collection. i think taht there are probably a lot of people out there that are unaware of just how good of a storyteller capote was. this is a great place to find out.
Lara Ramos
Alguns deles tenho certeza que foram escritos sob o efeito de um alucinógeno potente, mas outros são tão lindos e delicados...especialmente as histórias de Buddy e a srta. Sook.
Liz
Love the weird people in this collection.
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