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The Grass Harp: Including A Tree of Night…

The Grass Harp: Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1951)

by Truman Capote

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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8201217,199 (4.08)35
The protagonists of these nine short stories learn to accept the harsh loneliness of life.

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» See also 35 mentions

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I am still mystified by Capote's talent. His early novels and stories share a great deal with each other, diminishing their impact, but the ingenuity and wit of the works still shine through.

Colin Fenwick was sent to live with his aunts after the deaths of his parents. Aunt Verena is a shrewd businesswoman who holds the town in a tight financial grip. Her sister Dolly is gentle and looks after the needs of the house, preparing a dropsy cure for sale on the side. Dolly's closest friend is Catherine, a black woman who defends the meek Dolly and claims Native American descent.

The dropsy cure becomes popular enough to be bringing in real money and suddenly Verena wants to interfere. After a clash between the sisters Dolly, Catherine and Colin decide to move out of the house and into a tree-house on the outskirts of town. Verena attempts to use her influence to make them return home, and the rest of the plot happens.

But plot is secondary with Capote, especially in these early works. His language, his curious sympathy with older women and the young boys who hang out in their kitchens, and the humorous and somehow completely believable aura that surrounds the daily life of his story's inhabitants.

'The Grass Harp' has Capote's first story collection, 'A Tree of Night and Other Stories' attached. These stories are more unsettling than funny and owe a great debt to the Freud fascination of the mid-20th century. Only two, "Children on Their Birthdays" and "Shut a Final Door" enter firm, laugh-out-loud, ground. And that is taking into account my significant appreciation for dark humor. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
I was in a play based on The Grass Harp -- actually, a musical--in 1980. One of my very few acting experiences. I think it was at Theatre for the Open Eye. I enjoyed it very much. I think I played Burma-Shave. I was surprised Capote could be so sweet. ( )
  deckla | Apr 5, 2016 |
This is a semi-autobiographical story by Truman Capote. His writing is, as always, superb. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 14, 2016 |
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 . . .”

( )
  HunterMurphy | Jun 26, 2015 |
This book contains The Grass Harp, a novella, and about 8 or 9 short stories. The Grass Harp is about outsiders in a small sourthern town. ( )
  pnorman4345 | Sep 3, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Capote, TrumanAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adsuar Ortega, JoaquínTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baulenas, Lluís-AntonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coindreau, Maurice-EdgarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Helmond, Joop vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirschner, HalinaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krückels, Birgitsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennanen, EilaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podszus, FriedrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roshani, AnuschkaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seidel, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Miss Sook Faulk. In memory of affections deep and true
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¿Cuándo oí hablar por primera verz del arpa de hierba?
Chapter One: When was it that first I heard of the grass harp?
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