Synopses & Reviews
Most readers know Truman Capote as the author of Breakfast at Tiffany's
and In Cold Blood
; or they remember his notorious social life and wild and witty public appearances. But he was also the author of superb short tales that were as elegant as they were heartfelt, as grotesque as they were compassionate. Now, on the occasion of what would have been his eightieth birthday, the Modern Library presents the first collection that includes all of Capote's short fiction a volume that confirms his status as one of the masters of this form.
Among the selections are "A Tree of Night," in which an innocent student, sitting on a train beside a slatternly woman and her deaf-mute companion, enters a seductive nightmare that brings back the deepest fears of childhood...."House of Flowers," the inspiration for a celebrated Broadway musical, which tells of a superstitious prostitute who learns to love in a way no one else can ever understand....the holiday perennial "A Christmas Memory," famously adapted into a superb made-for-TV movie....and "The Bargain," Capote's melancholy, never-before-published 1950 story about a suburban housewife's shifting fortunes.
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 captured in this first-ever compendium. The Collected Stories of Truman Capote should restore its author to a place above mere celebrity, to the highest levels of American letters.
"[A]ll of [these stories] are linked by a shimmering, but never showy, eloquence and sensitive observation of the personal environments [Capote's] characters inhabit, both psychological and physical." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Though the late Capote became a pathetic self-caricature, the one who wrote these brilliant stories deserves to be remembered." Kirkus Reviews
"If some of the earliest, most precocious efforts seem derivative...one experiences as strongly as ever [Capote's] gift for concrete abstraction...and his spectacular observancy....Again and again, his lyricism, to poignant effect, stops just short of over-ripeness." Thomas Mallon, The New Yorker
"It is...hard to open to any page and not feel the whirr of a man dancing as fast as he can, desperate to impress, and desperately impressed himself with celebrity." Newsday
"As these stories offer interesting glimpses into mid-century American lives, they also inspire the student of writing. But mostly, they remind us why Truman Capote deserves to be remembered as a significant contributor to American literature." Providence Journal
Most readers know Truman Capote as the author of Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood; or they remember his notorious social life and wild and witty public appearances. But he was also the author of superb short tales that were as elegant as they were heartfelt, as grotesque as they were compassionate. Now, on the occasion of what would have been his eightieth birthday, Random House presents the first collection that includes all of Capote's short fiction a volume that confirms his status as one of the masters of this form.
About the Author
Truman Capote was born in New Orleans on September 30, 1924. In 1948 his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms
, was published to international critical acclaim, assuring Capote a place among the prominent postwar American writers. He won the O. Henry Memorial Short Story Prize twice and was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. His other works include Breakfast at Tiffany's
, The Grass Harp
, and the nonfiction masterpiece In Cold Blood
. He died on August 25, 1984.
Reynolds Price is the James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University and the distinguished author of more than twenty-five books of fiction, poetry, drama, and essays. He lives in North Carolina.
Table of Contents
Introduction : usable answers
The walls are cold 3
A mink of one's own 9
The shape of things 15
Jug of silver 21
My side of the matter 51
Preacher's legend 63
A tree of night 77
The headless hawk 91
Shut a final door 117
Children on their birthdays 135
Master misery 155
The bargain 177
A diamond guitar 185
House of flowers 197
A Christmas memory 213
Among the paths to Eden 227
The Thanksgiving visitor 241
One Christmas 287