web site hit counter The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories

Availability: Ready to download

Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits--an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies--who one day take up residence in a tree house. AS they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits--an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies--who one day take up residence in a tree house. AS they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, "that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life." This volume also includes Capote's A Tree of Night and Other Stories, which the Washington Post called "unobstrusively beautiful...a superlative book."


Compare

Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits--an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies--who one day take up residence in a tree house. AS they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits--an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies--who one day take up residence in a tree house. AS they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, "that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life." This volume also includes Capote's A Tree of Night and Other Stories, which the Washington Post called "unobstrusively beautiful...a superlative book."

30 review for The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lawyer

    The Grass Harp: Truman Capote on the Sunny Side of the Street "Gonna take a Sentimental Journey, Gonna set my heart at ease. Gonna make a Sentimental Journey, to renew old memories... Never thought my heart could be so yearny. Why did I decide to roam? Gotta take that Sentimental Journey, Sentimental Journey home. Sentimental Journey." Random House, New York, New York Scene One--The office of Bob Linscott,Editor for Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, among others Random House, New York, NY Linscott: The Grass Harp: Truman Capote on the Sunny Side of the Street "Gonna take a Sentimental Journey, Gonna set my heart at ease. Gonna make a Sentimental Journey, to renew old memories... Never thought my heart could be so yearny. Why did I decide to roam? Gotta take that Sentimental Journey, Sentimental Journey home. Sentimental Journey." Random House, New York, New York Scene One--The office of Bob Linscott,Editor for Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, among others Random House, New York, NY Linscott: Truman, you're a wonderful writer... Capote: Oh, that's so true. There's only one TC! (Truman takes a languorous puff from his cigarette and stares dreamily at the ceiling, then looks at Bob, giving him a sultry look.) Linscott: Don't pull that pouty baby face look on me. It won't work. Capote: Why, Bob, I don't know what you mean! (In a whining tone) Linscott: Look. Bennett's getting nervous. It's been two years since Other Voices, Other Rooms came out. That jacket photo just about made us all laughing stocks. Capote: Now, that was perfectly innocent, Bob. And, Foxy, you had final approval on that picture. Now, didn't you? Linscott: You caught me at a weak moment. Capote: (Waving his cigarette delicately) Well, there you have it, Bobby. Linscott: We've kept you in front of the public, Truman. We published your short fiction in A Tree of Night: And Other Stories. But you've been promising... Capote: And it was a ROUSING success. You were at the reading down at the Poetry Center. I was practically BLASTED off that high stool Malcolm had me sit on by the applause. How many times have you heard Bravo and Encore shouted outside of an opera house? Hmmmm??? Linscott: And you hopped off that stool and were bowing and blowing kisses with both hands. Have you absolutely no shame, Truman? Capote: What's that, Bob? Shame? (giggling) Linscott: Truman, you SKIPPED off the damned stage like a school boy! HUZZAH! Capote: Well, Foxy, I FELT like a school boy. Why, I DID! Linscott: And don't tell me you're still working on Summer Crossing. Capote: But, Bob, I am. I really, really am. It's just that the progress is slow. Linscott: Really, Truman. What do you not understand? A rich New York girl falls in love with a cab stand attendant? Capote: Love comes in many places. Wherever you find it, is natural. Linscott: I'm sure you would know, Truman. But it's THIN, Truman, THIN! Any author could write it. It doesn't have your unique artistic stamp. Capote: Well, actually, Jack doesn't like it either. Truman and Jack Dunphy, long time companions Linscott: You're not helping that gad about with his novel are you, Truman? Capote: NO! Bob! I wouldn't do that. Why would I lie? (eyes dart left and right) Linscott: For any of the same reasons you always do, Truman. So what am I going to tell Bennett? Capote: Alright. I tore it up. I didn't like it either. Linscott: You tore it up! Truman! Capote: Well you said you didn't like it. I tore it up. It's finished. Gone. Never to see the light of day. Happy? I'm working on something else. Something from back in Alabama. About growing up with Callie, Sook, and Annie. Linscott: Is this true? I want to see the first two chapters. Capote: Oh, Bob! You won't believe it. It's about the lovely years I spent with my cousins. I know how dark and gloomy Other Voices, Other Rooms was. But this is the HAPPY TC. It's very real to me, more real than anything I've ever written, probably ever will. Linscott: That's what you've said about EVERYTHING you've ever written. Capote: (sulking) I cry. I have no control over myself or what I'm doing. Memories are always breaking my heart, Bob. You know, it's not easy writing a beautiful book. SCENE TWO--Truman on the terrace of the Fontana Vecchia in Taormina, on the phone. Linscott in his office at Random House, also on phone. Linscott: Truman, Truman, Truman. This is absolutely wonderful. So, Dolly, that'd be Sook, right? She's got a patent medicine for Dropsy that Verena... Capote: Ye-e-e-s, that would be Cousin Callie. She could be so mean-- Linscott: And Verena is going to steal Dolly's recipe to make the money off it-- Capote: (Yawning. Jack is rubbing his shoulders) That's right. Callie always was the richest, meanest woman in town. Linscott: So, they run off from home and find a treehouse between two China Berry trees and live there, and Verena sends the law to bring them back, and there's this retired Judge-- Capote--Charlie Cool who falls in love with Dolly, and Catherine Creek, Dolly's helper, and Riley, an older boy I looked up to all living up in this tree. And Judge Cool stands between Verena, the law and the townspeople who are trying to get Dolly to go back home and live with Verena. Linscott: My boy, my boy--This is simply marvelous stuff. How are you going to get them down out of the tree? ARE you going to get them out of the tree? Capote: Bob, you'll just have to wait and see. I'm mailing out the last sections June 4. Linscott: I hope you mean June 4, 1951, and not 52 or 53. Capote: Really Bob. You need to loosen up a little. First you drink, then you have sex, and then you smoke. You should try it sometime. Linscott: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wonderful stuff. Simply marvelous. Now this is the TC I know and love that we ALL know and love here at Random House. Capote: Give my regards to Bennett, Foxy. (hanging up) A little lower Jack, honey. SCENE THREE: Scenes of train travelling through the Italian countryside. A map flashes Florence, Rome, and finally Venice. Truman is on the phone looking out his hotel room overlooking the Canal. CAPOTE: Uhm, Bob, Truman Linscott: How could I ever mistake that voice, my boy. Capote: Oh, Bob. I do hope you are pleased with the book. Linscott: Uhm, how can I say this, Truman. I didn't like the ending. Nobody hear at Random House liked the ending. And if Bennett Cerf isn't happy, ain't nobody happy at Random House Capote: But, Bob, WHY? I just don't understand! (plaintively, turning into a pouty face) Linscott: Well, Truman, the first half was absolutely divine! I was expecting a continuing miracle! I don't think we got that. Not at all. Capote: But, but, but... Linscott: Not, you understand, that it isn't a good as a story and as superb as a piece of righting. There's no specific criticism to be made; just that we all had a slight feeling of letdown, tapering off a little, with the ending coming to soon. It's so short, we don't think people will buy it as a novel. Capote: I cannot endure it (stamping feet) that all of you think my book a failure. I am simply striken by such overpowering opinion! Linscott: "We'll pray that the critics won't have the same feeling of vague letdown in the last half that effected us. SCENE FOUR: Review pages swirl coming to rest on headlines as a back drop to Truman Capote sitting in a comfortable chair. Capote holds an Atlantic Magazine. Newspapers and magazines are scattered around his chair. First Edition, The Grass Harp NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE-- THE GRASS HARP SHOWS THE MATURING AND MELLOWING OF ONE OF AMERICA'S BEST YOUNG WRITERS NEW YORK TIMES-- A VAST IMPROVEMENT OVER OTHER VOICES OTHER ROOMS THE COMMONWEAL-- WITHIN THE SLIM COMPASS OF THIS WORK, TRUMAN CAPOTE HAS ACHIEVED A MASTERPIECE OF PASSIONATE SIMPLICITY (Lights begin to fade) Capote: (reading aloud) "The Atlantic Monthly commented that 'The Grass Harp charms you into sharing the author's feeling that there is a special poetry - a spontaneity and wonder and delight - in lives untarnished by conformity and common sense.'" Capote: (reading reviews with satisfied smile) All books are far too long. MY theory is that a book should be like a seed you plant, and that the reader should make his own flower. Now, Bob, Honey--Bennett--What was it you were saying? Actually, I'm thinking about an extraordinary young woman that loves to shop at Tiffany's. Stage lights fade to black. FINIS

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    The Grass Harp: 4-stars After a failed attempt to listen to The Grass Harp on audio, I purchased this book and began again. I am quite glad that I did, since the beauty of the language minus the fake Southern accent is remarkable. I loved the Truman Capote I heard in my own head, with the softness of the accents of my own Aunts Pearl and Maybelle echoing in the words of Miss Dolly. The audaciousness of the concept of a boy and two old women living in a tree is lost in the genuine delight of the i The Grass Harp: 4-stars After a failed attempt to listen to The Grass Harp on audio, I purchased this book and began again. I am quite glad that I did, since the beauty of the language minus the fake Southern accent is remarkable. I loved the Truman Capote I heard in my own head, with the softness of the accents of my own Aunts Pearl and Maybelle echoing in the words of Miss Dolly. The audaciousness of the concept of a boy and two old women living in a tree is lost in the genuine delight of the image Capote paints--the defiance of those who are the weaklings in the eyes of everyone else in this town. Dolly is a marvelous character, but Catherine made me smile almost every time she spoke. I could see her, hands on hips, calling Verena “That One”. Capote achieves a lot in a short time. With less than 100 pages in which to tell a fairly complicated story, he says exactly what needs to be said and wastes not a word. Quite an accomplishment. He also manages to incorporate a real humor and a poignant sense of loneliness into this brief moment in a bunch of fractured, and perhaps wasted, lives. I intend to read the other stories in this collection, but not right now. Hoping to come back soon and complete the review. Meanwhile, I have rated this book with only The Grass Harp in mind.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chrissie

    This book includes the novella The Grass Harp and eight stories. They are listed below with a short description and some quotes from each. At the end I speak of the book as a whole and the audiobook performance. The Grass Harp—about an orphan and two elderly women friends, one White and the other a mixed Indian and Black. They flee to a house hidden in a china tree. Set in a small southern town. Quote: “Love is a chain of love, because if you love one thing you can love another.” Master Misery—abo This book includes the novella The Grass Harp and eight stories. They are listed below with a short description and some quotes from each. At the end I speak of the book as a whole and the audiobook performance. The Grass Harp—about an orphan and two elderly women friends, one White and the other a mixed Indian and Black. They flee to a house hidden in a china tree. Set in a small southern town. Quote: “Love is a chain of love, because if you love one thing you can love another.” Master Misery—about a girl and a clown and a man who buys dreams. Set in NYC. Quote: “Happiness winged around her like a bird lamed, but flying around her.” Children on Their Birthdays--about an obnoxious little girl, Miss Bobbitt, in her pretty yellow frock. She moves into town with her mother, meets some kids and gets run over by the 6 o’clock bus. This about the bus, we are told at the start. Set again in a small southern town. Quote: “Friends, like ivy on the wall, must fall.” Shut a Final Door--about making your way among the chic and the advertising world of NYC. This is well done, but not a pleasant reading experience! Quotes: “What is the use of having friends if you couldn’t discuss them objectively.” and "On the way out, he paid for a cup of coffee he had forgotten to have.” Jug of Silver--In a small southern town there is a drugstore with its soda fountain counter. Into town moves a competitor. How are the clientele to be won back? This story, set at Christmas, I did enjoy. Quote: “You oughtn’t to be telling our personal, private family business that a’way, Appleseed.” Miriam--about two Miriams, a little girl and a widow. They meet at a movie theater in wintry NYC. This story grabbed my interest from the start and held it to the end. THIS story is very good! Quotes: “The line seemed to be taking its own time, and looking around for some distraction, she suddenly became conscious of a little girl standing under the edge of the marquis. Her hair was…….” and (That's an) “imitation. Aren’t imitations sad?” The Headless Hawk--about a girl in green and a guy working in an art studio. He buys her painting, but he buys it for himself! Look at the title and the last quote and then stop and think. This story attracted me at the start, but the end threw me. Another story set in NYC. Quotes: “Her eyes rolled in her sockets like loose marbles…she looked like a sad rag doll…..and (he) wondered why it was that eccentricity always excited in him such a curious admiration. It was the feeling he’d had toward carnival freaks.” and “Candles are magic. Light one and the world becomes a storybook.” and “He was, he said, a poet who had never written poetry, a painter who had never painted, a lover who had never loved absolutely. Someone, in short, without direction and quite headless.” My Side of the Matter--about Miss Olivia Ann, Eunice, Blue Bell, Marge and Baby Doll. The last is a man, if I have understood correctly. Set in the South, it is a disjointed telling of a confrontation, a fracas, a melee. Quotes: “No wife of mine is ever gonna be disrespectful of me.” and “That was my funeral money, and I want it back.” A Tree of Night is set in a train in Alabama headed toward Atlanta. It is about a nineteen-year-old girl traveling from her uncle’s funeral back to college and the creepy couple she meets in the train coach. You could call them a traveling circus show of two. Quotes: “He think I’m drunk, and the funny part is I am. You gotta do something.” and “Didn’t your mamma ever tell you it is sinful to lie?!” The prose is filled with abstract metaphors and fanciful impressions. They seem to me to be saying more than I understand. The writing feels somehow psychedelic. Few of the stories engaged me, and none of the characters pulled me in. The reading experience left me detached. On the other hand, Truman Capote is adept at capturing the feel of a time and place, be it NYC, the world of advertising or a small town in the South. His prose intrigues me, which explains why I have given quotes. The audiobook sold at Audible is entitled The Grass Harp, but the stories are also included. Cody Roberts narrates the audiobook. He uses a thick southern dialect when he reads the novella. When he is using a southern accent, he tends to almost sing the lines. Pauses are often misplaced. He stops both before and after the word “and”. Why he does this is beyond me! I did not like his narration of the novella, but he reads the stories better, so I have given the narration three stars. The novella, the next two stories and the last two did little for me. Only one story, Miriam, did I like a lot, three stories were good or pretty good, so I guess the book was OK. ************************ In Cold Blood 4 stars Breakfast at Tiffany's 4 stars The Grass Harp, Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories 2 stars Other Voices, Other Rooms TBR

  4. 4 out of 5

    Corinne Wasilewski

    I love the way Truman Capote writes. I love his vivid language, flamboyant characters, rhythmic sentences and bold, fantastic scenes. Reading Truman Capote is like eating cheesecake -- every sentence is rich and glorious. Here's a beautiful excerpt from The Grass Harp: Wind surprised, pealed the leaves, parted night clouds; showers of starlight were let loose: our candle, as though intimidated by the incandescence of the the opening, star-stabbed sky, toppled, and we could see, unwrapped above u I love the way Truman Capote writes. I love his vivid language, flamboyant characters, rhythmic sentences and bold, fantastic scenes. Reading Truman Capote is like eating cheesecake -- every sentence is rich and glorious. Here's a beautiful excerpt from The Grass Harp: Wind surprised, pealed the leaves, parted night clouds; showers of starlight were let loose: our candle, as though intimidated by the incandescence of the the opening, star-stabbed sky, toppled, and we could see, unwrapped above us, a late wayaway wintery moon: it was like a slice of snow, near and far creatures called to it, hunched moon-eyed frogs, a claw-voiced wildcat. At its core, The Grass Harp is about love. The Judge says of love, "A leaf, a handful of seed -- begin with these, learn a little of what it is to love. First, a leaf, a fall of rain, then someone to receive what a leaf has taught you, what a fall of rain has ripened. No easy process, understand: it could take a lifetime, it has mine, and still I've never mastered it -- I only know how true it is: that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life." Dolly elaborates on this thought in the final pages of the book in a conversation with Collin: "Charlie said that love is a chain of love. I hope you listened and understood him. Because when you can love one thing...., you can love another, and that is owning, that is something to live with. You can forgive everything." The treehouse scenes create the turning point of the book. There we have a collection of "fools" each trying to find out who he/she truly is. It is after the Judge leaves the treehouse that he has the courage to leave his sons and set off on his own. Similarly with Riley Henderson, it is after he leaves the tree house that he falls in love with Maude Riordan, gets engaged, and finds purpose as he begins to clear land with a plan to build houses. Verena, unfortunately, never has a treehouse epiphany although Dolly forces her into the tree presumably with the hope of redeeming her sister (or herself, maybe both). The reader realizes that Verena has allowed the longstanding unacknowledged or perhaps unreciprocated love she held for Maudie Laura Murphy to destroy her life. In other words, she permitted the chain of love to be broken. Dolly, on the other hand, has kept the chain of love intact and although she leaves the treehouse to return to her sister, one gets the impression she is triumphant and not a coward. A beautiful book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    I had not read any Truman Capote because in the seventies, when I became aware of him he had already deteriorated into a Hollywood celebrity writer, which made me automatically assume that he wrote pabulum for the masses. Hence I took him as an author about as seriously as a writer for tabloids. Such an arrogant thing to think, I know, but I'm being honest. So how did I come around to finally reading Capote, and furthermore, really liking and admiring his work? It was through his good friend, Harp I had not read any Truman Capote because in the seventies, when I became aware of him he had already deteriorated into a Hollywood celebrity writer, which made me automatically assume that he wrote pabulum for the masses. Hence I took him as an author about as seriously as a writer for tabloids. Such an arrogant thing to think, I know, but I'm being honest. So how did I come around to finally reading Capote, and furthermore, really liking and admiring his work? It was through his good friend, Harper Lee. I was reading about her life and came to know that she and Capote grew up in Monroeville, Alabama. They were close childhood friends and, later as adults, encouraged and influenced each others' writing. Some have darkly whispered that Capote largely edited Lee's work, "To Kill a Mockingbird", which would explain why the original manuscript, "Go Tell a Watchman" that was published a couple of years ago is not of the same quality. Others argue that Capote was way too narcissistic to keep that sort of thing a secret, especially since the book won the Pulitzer Prize. What is easier to conclude is that Lee helped Capote write "Cold Blood", well, not the writing, which is all his own, but she did the ground work for him, meticulously researching the background of the murder, befriending and interviewing the families involved etc.. Capote gave her no credit for collecting all the information that he used to write. Not that he didn't do a lot himself, and ultimately wrote the book, but based on what I read, he couldn't have done it without Harper Lee. So granted, Truman Capote was a self-centered little (he stood at 5 foot 3) donkey's behind. He was still a wonderful writer and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First of all, I have lived several years in the South and I appreciate the local color that Capote so deftly writes into his stories. The culture, the dialect, it's all so rich. And his story lines are fun, yet also poignant. This collection of short stories alternate between people living in small southern towns and people living in New York City. Even in New York, at least one of the characters is a Southern transplant, which allows the contrast between the two cultures to rub against each other and shine more clearly. Since I have also spent several years in the Northeast (I'm not real old, just middle-aged), I appreciate his stories in that environment as well. Capote has a fun sense of humor which keeps the reader from taking some events too seriously, events that would otherwise perplex us. Yet, there is also an overriding loneliness in his stories. His characters are often disenfranchised, isolated, and alone. Truman Capote lost his father when very young and abandoned by his mother to a couple of elderly aunts. One of the aunts must have been a little slow, because these two aunts, one domineering and the other autistic or mentally challenged, crop up in many of the stories in this collection. These stories were written when Capote was a young man, and published in 1945. They offer a unique view of a time period, especially in the South, that preserves a culture, its beauty and its ugliness, for those of use who came after. I look forward to reading more of his works and see how he matured as a writer.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Connor

    [3.5 Stars] My Video Review: https://youtu.be/6iqcD3oRT2I [3.5 Stars] My Video Review: https://youtu.be/6iqcD3oRT2I

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tom Mathews

    Have you ever done anything on a lark and then had someone tell you that you couldn't do it? A minute ago you couldn't have cared less about the activity but as soon as someone dares to tell you you can't do it, you can't help but dig in your heels and insist on doing it. This is what happens in The Grass Harp when an unlikely trio decides to have a picnic in a tree house. It's an odd little tale but what can one expect from Truman Capote? Told in the first person, I can easily imagine sitting w Have you ever done anything on a lark and then had someone tell you that you couldn't do it? A minute ago you couldn't have cared less about the activity but as soon as someone dares to tell you you can't do it, you can't help but dig in your heels and insist on doing it. This is what happens in The Grass Harp when an unlikely trio decides to have a picnic in a tree house. It's an odd little tale but what can one expect from Truman Capote? Told in the first person, I can easily imagine sitting with Capote at a cocktail party listening to him relate this unusual story from his childhood.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Capote creates some of the most beautiful sentences I've ever read. His characters are created with so much care, and I love them all, whether they're good or bad. This novella is perhaps the best example of Capote's skill. Anyone who loves to read gorgeous descriptions of eccentric characters and create a relationship with the story they're reading should pick up this book. It is the epitome of heart-warming. Capote creates some of the most beautiful sentences I've ever read. His characters are created with so much care, and I love them all, whether they're good or bad. This novella is perhaps the best example of Capote's skill. Anyone who loves to read gorgeous descriptions of eccentric characters and create a relationship with the story they're reading should pick up this book. It is the epitome of heart-warming.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    The first time I read a Truman Capote story I could have sworn I had read it before. Not trite or derivative, more like he drew these stories in fine silvery threads from my heart.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    It was a reading group that directed me to this book and I am very thankful for this advice. The title story “A Grass Harp” is “poetry in form of prose” as one group member put it. Capote is a master of painting with words, visible in expressions like “the snowflake of Dolly’s face”, “eyes … luminously green as mint jelly” or “the kitchen was warm as a cow’s tongue”. The story is deeply engulfed in humanity. The main characters the narrator boy Colling, Aunt Dolly, her coloured friend and help C It was a reading group that directed me to this book and I am very thankful for this advice. The title story “A Grass Harp” is “poetry in form of prose” as one group member put it. Capote is a master of painting with words, visible in expressions like “the snowflake of Dolly’s face”, “eyes … luminously green as mint jelly” or “the kitchen was warm as a cow’s tongue”. The story is deeply engulfed in humanity. The main characters the narrator boy Colling, Aunt Dolly, her coloured friend and help Catherine and Judge Cool defy the indifference and callousness of the people of a Southern town and retreat to a tree house. The regular society of the town cannot allow for such an unheard thing and forces them to give up. A young man gets shot in the shoulder, but the event has no other major consequences. Still the people involved come out of it changed. The story reminded me in many ways of “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. It plays in a remote, rural town, central characters are a child and a judge, and they display the same fierce attitude towards injustice and racism. Among the other stories of the book I liked most “Children on their Birthdays” and “A Jug of Silver”, both again displaying Capote’s mastery picture strong, exceptional children, their struggles and view of the world. The 4-star rating is only to be contributed to those other stories that were less my taste.

  11. 4 out of 5

    alexis

    Capote's Southerness shines in this lovely little book. I adore Truman Capote's work. In Cold Blood has to be one of my favorite books of all time. So it was interesting to read a book that was still so blatantly Capote but emotionally so far removed from the other. Then again, I guess it's not. The Grass Harp has the same sad wistfulness as all of Capote's books but introduces the warm, lazy, drama of a Southern picturesque. I loved this book. The comparisons to To Kill a Mockingbird are easy to Capote's Southerness shines in this lovely little book. I adore Truman Capote's work. In Cold Blood has to be one of my favorite books of all time. So it was interesting to read a book that was still so blatantly Capote but emotionally so far removed from the other. Then again, I guess it's not. The Grass Harp has the same sad wistfulness as all of Capote's books but introduces the warm, lazy, drama of a Southern picturesque. I loved this book. The comparisons to To Kill a Mockingbird are easy to make. You do get the feeling that the two books take place in mirror images of the same town, with distant relatives making up the townsfolk. But both have distinct stories to share, and I wouldn't dare discount one by comparing it to the other. It does make it easy to wonder about long summers shared by Truman and Nell though. Highly recommended. Also, if you enjoy the whole Capote/Lee connection as much as I do, check out Capote in Kansas. A lovely ghost story starring Truman Capote and Harper Lee, by Kim Powers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rosemarie

    The Grass Harp is a wonderful story. The other stories in the book have a variety of themes, some of which I enjoyed more than others, but I am impressed with the quality of Capote's writing in all of them. The Grass Harp is a wonderful story. The other stories in the book have a variety of themes, some of which I enjoyed more than others, but I am impressed with the quality of Capote's writing in all of them.

  13. 5 out of 5

    C. McKenzie

    True to his Capote style, these are quirky and compelling stories--slices of life that leave you with vivid and often disturbing images of the characters he creates. The most perverse of those characters--at least for me--appear in The Tree of Night where a young girl named Kay boards a train to Atlanta and, unfortunately, chooses to sit in a compartment with a tipsy woman and a crude, sexually suggestive man. While Kay notes they verge on the grotesque physically (the woman's outsized head, the True to his Capote style, these are quirky and compelling stories--slices of life that leave you with vivid and often disturbing images of the characters he creates. The most perverse of those characters--at least for me--appear in The Tree of Night where a young girl named Kay boards a train to Atlanta and, unfortunately, chooses to sit in a compartment with a tipsy woman and a crude, sexually suggestive man. While Kay notes they verge on the grotesque physically (the woman's outsized head, the man's boyish yet old face) she soon discovers that the distortions she can see are mere hints of their insanity. While I turned that last page on this story yesterday, this story is still firmly lodged inside my head and that woman and man continue to trouble me. Like Kay, I was permanently affected by coming into contact with them.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sketchbook

    Poppycock : Capote, searching for his voice, bakes a pretentious poppyseed cake with an excess of passion-fruit curds.

  15. 5 out of 5

    George Seaton

    I travel Capote's world mostly for the words. Yes, there is plot, characterization, mood, beginnings, middles, and ends (although some of those ends are quite abrupt). If his world is, at times, wistful, sometimes silly, sometimes fantastical, often cold, then, all the better because they are made that way through his exquisite use of words--the simpler the better. This is why I read Capote: "...a field of high Indian grass that changes color with the seasons: go to see it in the fall, late Sept I travel Capote's world mostly for the words. Yes, there is plot, characterization, mood, beginnings, middles, and ends (although some of those ends are quite abrupt). If his world is, at times, wistful, sometimes silly, sometimes fantastical, often cold, then, all the better because they are made that way through his exquisite use of words--the simpler the better. This is why I read Capote: "...a field of high Indian grass that changes color with the seasons: go to see it in the fall, late September, when it has gone red as sunset, when scarlet shadows like firelight breeze over it and the autumn winds strum on its dry leaves sighing human music, a harp of voices." "She was one of those people who can disguise themselves as an object in the room, a shadow in the corner, whose presence is a delicate happening. ...Pulled and guided by the gravity of Verena's planet, we rotated separately in the outer spaces of the house." "...the kitchen was warm as a cow's tongue." "...Alaska--well, it was fun for an old man sitting alone listening to the noise of a clock." "...like two children lost in a witch-ruled forest..." "...Big Eddie Stover was legally born a bastard; the other two made the grade on their own." "...drugstore slander..." "...he was a fat cigar of a man..." Yes, I know. Without context the quotes probably don't stand well on their own. But, for context you have to read the collection. And, you won't be disappointed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Grier

    I liked the title story very much but I didn't care for several of the other stories. 5 stars for the title story. I liked the title story very much but I didn't care for several of the other stories. 5 stars for the title story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    This is an utterly charming novella with all the qualities of a good fairy tale. I've always thought that Truman Capote is the bastard child of Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams. This book is definitely on the Eudora Welty side of the equation, although it also reminds me in moments of We Have Always Lived at the Castle. This is a tale of misfits, of the freedom of refusing to fit in, and of what it takes to make yourself and your family. The language is elegiac and the relationships are sweet, This is an utterly charming novella with all the qualities of a good fairy tale. I've always thought that Truman Capote is the bastard child of Eudora Welty and Tennessee Williams. This book is definitely on the Eudora Welty side of the equation, although it also reminds me in moments of We Have Always Lived at the Castle. This is a tale of misfits, of the freedom of refusing to fit in, and of what it takes to make yourself and your family. The language is elegiac and the relationships are sweet, heartfelt, and complex. Everyone in this book is looking for love, for a place to be - the treehouse at the top of the china tree brings them all together and holds them peaceful in its arms. There is, of course, the town and its folk who stand in opposition to the people of the tree and who, ultimately, bring the idyll to an end leaving only the shadows of voices on the wind. What remains for me is the image of the kitchen with its smells of sweet and savory things baking, the sound of conversation on a hot day, and the bowl of goldfish swimming lazily in their bowl.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Liz Estrada

    You know, I realized I just can't get enough of Truman Capote. Wish he had written forever! His short stories are so poignant that it brings you to tears. A master of writing he makes you feel his characters so intensely. I loved "Master Misery" with such great lines as: "Dreams are the mind of the soul", "She is the recent victim of a major theft; poor baby, she has had her soul stolen" and "if one disappears from the world, then the world should stop" (something I have selfishly said many time You know, I realized I just can't get enough of Truman Capote. Wish he had written forever! His short stories are so poignant that it brings you to tears. A master of writing he makes you feel his characters so intensely. I loved "Master Misery" with such great lines as: "Dreams are the mind of the soul", "She is the recent victim of a major theft; poor baby, she has had her soul stolen" and "if one disappears from the world, then the world should stop" (something I have selfishly said many times!) Luckily for us still on this fragile planet, Capote may have gone, but his words will never dissappear, thank God!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    This book offers Truman Capote’s novella The Grass Harp and his A Tree of Night and Other Stories . The novella is an endearing, sentimental homage to friendship and to being true to oneself. But it was the collection of eight short stories which were especially intriguing. Several were deeply disturbing ― if not horrifying ― explorations of fear, alienation, loneliness, our subliminal motivations, and our darker natures. Powerful descriptions, beautiful prose.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Sciuto

    Truman Capote's "The Grass Harp and other Stories," is lyrical, mystical, spiritual, blissful and mournful. The characters in the novel and short stories are amazingly well defined and the narrative rings with a brutal honesty that only the greatest of writers have ever achieved. Mr. Capote is among the greatest post World War 2, American writers that has ever put pen to paper. As great as Mailer, DeLillo, Updike, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin and Arthur Miller. It is easy to forg Truman Capote's "The Grass Harp and other Stories," is lyrical, mystical, spiritual, blissful and mournful. The characters in the novel and short stories are amazingly well defined and the narrative rings with a brutal honesty that only the greatest of writers have ever achieved. Mr. Capote is among the greatest post World War 2, American writers that has ever put pen to paper. As great as Mailer, DeLillo, Updike, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin and Arthur Miller. It is easy to forget after the major successes of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "In Cold Blood," the volume and magnitude and beauty of Capote's other works. "The Grass Harp and other Stories" is one of those other treasures. The characters of Dolly, the Judge, Verena, and Catherine in "The Grass Harp"are vivid illustrations and portrayals of rural Alabama that touch the reader in such a way as to make them unforgettable. Mr. Capote was so in touch with his Alabama roots and childhood that it is easy to forget, while reading this wonderful novel and short stories, that his frame and celebrity was ever associated with New York. Mr. Capote has always been one of my favorite writers. His ability to grab at the inner soul of his readers and to transport them to a place few people have ever visited has always left me breathless and in awe.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Matthews

    The Grass Harp is a lifetime of love and loss, a melancholic remembrance of what was and what could have been. It commands us to cherish our loved ones and not be cross with the people around us. While only being a smidge over 100 pages, this story proved to be a slow read. The Grass Harp is set in a small town and the pages and the words on them reflect this. The short story flashes through Collin’s life, yet it feels as if you are there living through it all with him. This story made me want to The Grass Harp is a lifetime of love and loss, a melancholic remembrance of what was and what could have been. It commands us to cherish our loved ones and not be cross with the people around us. While only being a smidge over 100 pages, this story proved to be a slow read. The Grass Harp is set in a small town and the pages and the words on them reflect this. The short story flashes through Collin’s life, yet it feels as if you are there living through it all with him. This story made me want to go tell all of my friends and family I love them and that no matter their actions towards me they will always be the people I want to be around. The Grass Harp emphasized the sacredness love, and how you should cherish every moment you get to spend with the people you care about.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mmars

    Perhaps the favorite southern fiction book I've read so far. So beautifully descriptive. Everything - the pacing, the characters, the style. It's just such a vivid book. One of those in which you experience sensory images long after turning the last page. Capote understood the child trying to adjust to living with and understanding two single bewildering aunts he's been thrust upon. And he wrote that child's viewpoint of those aunts and their house so well. Recommended as a summer read - with th Perhaps the favorite southern fiction book I've read so far. So beautifully descriptive. Everything - the pacing, the characters, the style. It's just such a vivid book. One of those in which you experience sensory images long after turning the last page. Capote understood the child trying to adjust to living with and understanding two single bewildering aunts he's been thrust upon. And he wrote that child's viewpoint of those aunts and their house so well. Recommended as a summer read - with the windows open & the insects singing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hunter Murphy

    This story is one of my favorites by Capote. It's based on his upbringing in Alabama with two elderly cousins in Monroeville. Capote wrote some of the best sentences in the 20th Century. I love this from the story: “If some wizard would like to give me a present, let him give me a bottle filled with the voices of that kitchen, the ha ha ha and the fire whispering, a bottle brimming with its buttery sugary smells . . .” This story is one of my favorites by Capote. It's based on his upbringing in Alabama with two elderly cousins in Monroeville. Capote wrote some of the best sentences in the 20th Century. I love this from the story: “If some wizard would like to give me a present, let him give me a bottle filled with the voices of that kitchen, the ha ha ha and the fire whispering, a bottle brimming with its buttery sugary smells . . .”

  24. 4 out of 5

    Allegra

    One of the most beautiful stories I have ever read--a true idea of family values and loyalty, though a completely unconventional family.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Franziska

    Capote can write. He knows how to create atmosphere and characters. This short book is so well written, I like it a lot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    Absolutely unreal! You have to read these books!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leah Agirlandaboy

    “The Grass Harp” is one of those hanging window prisms that throws trembling rainbows and patches of the whitest white light on the walls all around. It’s a perfect summer-into-fall novella, and, like many of Capote’s pieces, it has the slightly surreal quality of a fable (or maybe just a children’s story?), in that the narrative seems to take place in a world underpinned with danger but lived in (at least by the protagonists) as if the stakes are low and/or imaginary, even if they’re neither. I “The Grass Harp” is one of those hanging window prisms that throws trembling rainbows and patches of the whitest white light on the walls all around. It’s a perfect summer-into-fall novella, and, like many of Capote’s pieces, it has the slightly surreal quality of a fable (or maybe just a children’s story?), in that the narrative seems to take place in a world underpinned with danger but lived in (at least by the protagonists) as if the stakes are low and/or imaginary, even if they’re neither. I kept feeling a breeze of gently-poking-fun Twain humor wafting through, but it wasn’t really FUNNY funny, just...observant of how ridiculous people can be. And of course the writing is splendid: “A candle flickered in a mason jar, and gipsy moths, balanced, blowing about the flame, seemed to pilot its scarf of yellow among the black branches.” “The rain had thickened, fish could have swum through the air; like a deepening scale of piano notes, it struck its blackest chord, and drummed into a downpour that, though it threatened, did not at once reach us: drippings leaked through the leaves, but the tree-house stayed a dry seed in a soaking plant.” “‘We are speaking of love. A leaf, a handful of seed—begin with these, learn a little what it is to love. First, a leaf, a fall of rain, then someone to receive what a leaf has taught you, what a fall of rain has ripened. No easy process, understand; it could take a lifetime, it has mine, and still I’ve never mastered it—I only know how true it is: that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life.’ // ‘Then,’ said Dolly with an intake of breath, ‘I have been in love my whole life....When I loved, love collected inside me so that it went flying about like a bird in a sunflower field. But it’s best not to show such things, it burdens people and makes them, I don’t know why, unhappy....I’m afraid of scaring people if I show that I care for them.’” The other stories in this collection are also worth your time. “Children on Their Birthdays” is great.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ana'

    [The Grass Harp] I enjoyed this story very much and I am looking forward to read the other stories as well. Collin Fenwick’s account about his childhood and upbringing from this little town called “River Woods” were just marvelous, special and unexpectedly profound. It was hilarious at times, entertaining, sad, and mysterious. Collin shared how he perceived everyone in the town, the gossip and the definite events occurring in a “tree-house” which will forever change everything. What I liked the mo [The Grass Harp] I enjoyed this story very much and I am looking forward to read the other stories as well. Collin Fenwick’s account about his childhood and upbringing from this little town called “River Woods” were just marvelous, special and unexpectedly profound. It was hilarious at times, entertaining, sad, and mysterious. Collin shared how he perceived everyone in the town, the gossip and the definite events occurring in a “tree-house” which will forever change everything. What I liked the most was the beautiful narrative that was distinct. Through Collin’s narration, the author uses nature’s description to portray the situation at hand or emotions, feelings. Despite the storyline being simple, one is caught up in the embellishment of the narrative. “We are speaking of love. A leaf, a handful of seed - begin with these, learn a little what it is to love. First, a leaf, a fall of rain, then someone to receive what a leaf has taught you, what a fall of rain has ripened. No easy process, understand; it could take a lifetime, it has mine, and still I’ve never mastered it - I only know how true it is: that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life.” (p.44) It reminded me at times of “The Emigrants” by the German author W.G. Sebald and “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. The title of the story: “The Grass Harp” refers to the wind that carries “…a story- it knows the stories of all the people on the hill, of all the people who ever lived, and when we are dead it will tell ours, too.” (p.9) ; representing a testament of their existence. “…But the wind is us- it gathers and remembers all our voices, then sends them talking and telling through the leaves and the fields-” (p.23) The focus of the story centers mainly on a few days where Collin with some family members, friends live in a “tree-house”. There, we witness a special gathering, a community that built trust, shared reminiscences and life lessons, practiced acceptance. It became an adventure. Thus referring to the implementation of the notion of “the grass harp”: “…it was a grass harp, gathering, telling, a harp of voices remembering a story. We listened” (p.97) Nature, the “china tree” became their refuge against everyone’s discontent thus representing a safe world: “private worlds” (p.51), and a place everyone longed to find : “It may be that there is no place for any of us. Except we know there is, somewhere; and if we found it, but lived there only a moment, we could count ourselves blessed. This could be your place,” (p.37) Suffice to say, there are many more life lessons that we learn from Collin but I don’t want to overwhelm you with more quotes. I recommend this novel. It was lovely and profound. A perfect reading for the weekend. . [A Tree of Night and Other Stories] These stories are distinct. I have never read anything like it. Some are strange with supernatural elements and mysterious. They varied location between New York to small Southern towns. They captured definitive moments that marked a tragedy or a change. Many are fatalistic. Characters tended to be lost or when they wished for something it always went for the worst. My favorite short stories were "Miriam" and "My side of the Matter". This last one was funny. Humor was easily detectable on the narrative. It was a change from the rest of them. "Miriam" had a beautiful description. It tackles the theme of loneliness, helplessness and the snowy weather mimicked the character feelings. "In times of terror or immense distress, there are moments when the mind waits, as though for a revelation, while a skein of calm is woven over thought;" (p.173) "The Headless Hawk" and "A Tree of Night" were not my cup of tea. They are mysterious and perfect for Halloween. "Jug of Silver" story was full of suspense. The first story "Master Misery" reminded me a lot of "Lady of Hay" by Barbara Erskine. It’s about dreams and hypnosis. There is a strong metaphor on the idea of selling our dreams. I felt the author had a significant message but couldn’t grasp it. Sylvia felt lonely and yearned to be taken into consideration. By giving away her dreams she became lost, empty. She was better off before. This idea of, be careful what you wish for, is clearly the emphasis on the second story, "Children on their Birthdays". "…just as we were wishing that something would happen, something did;" (p.119) In "Shut a Final Door", the main character is lonely and is in search of something. "But he did not know where to begin thinking about himself, did not know where to find the center." (p.137) He is self-centered and is dependable of people. He is not virtuous nor loyal. This notion of going in circle is portrayed by Walter always observing the fan spinning on several occasions. "…experience is a circle of which no moment can be isolated, forgotten." (p.148) Many Times, I felt a little confused, not fully understanding the story. They were condensed in meaning. Some other times, I wished I knew more. I wished they were as complete as "The Grass Harp". I don’t have the habit of reading short stories but I enjoyed very much "A Scrap of Time and Other Stories" by Ida Fink. These short stories captured each moment completely leaving one contented.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Mclaren

    Truman Capote is a strong writer and the first story in this series of short stories starts very sweetly about three endearing misfits — an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies—who one day take up residence in a tree house ... but overshadowing everything is sadness for missed opportunities and fractions within the family. It ends sadly and, rather sadly, most of these stories are pretty dark when you get around to it. Not what I expected and not the best for the holidays.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    4 1/2 stars. Teach me to write like Truman Capote. He writes about the South in such a sleepy, dream like way and his characters are always so interesting - neither sinners nor saints - just complex, flawed human beings. I loved every story, bar one. Quite a few of them were surprisingly creepy too. The Grass Harp was beautiful. This may actually be my favourite Capote I've read so far. 4 1/2 stars. Teach me to write like Truman Capote. He writes about the South in such a sleepy, dream like way and his characters are always so interesting - neither sinners nor saints - just complex, flawed human beings. I loved every story, bar one. Quite a few of them were surprisingly creepy too. The Grass Harp was beautiful. This may actually be my favourite Capote I've read so far.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.