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

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  4,101 ratings  ·  179 reviews
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 th ...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Vintage (first published January 2nd 1956)
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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: Tru
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
Dec 18, 2008 Jill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants their heart strings pulled
Shelves: own, favorites
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'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
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.
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
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,
Bueno, yo tengo la versión en castellano, pero no importa. O si, porque nunca sabes si la traducción es fiel o no al original.
Me gustó y me sorprendió esta novela porque no tiene nada que ver con "A sangre fría" y, en cambio, si tiene muchas reminiscencias del tipo Tom Sawyer. Tampoco es exactamente al estilo de "Desayuno en Tiffany's" (la famosa "Desayuno con diamantes") que quizá es una novela más madura.La historia, contada en primera persona por uno de sus protagonistas, un chaval, no deja
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
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 . . .”

One of the most beautiful stories I have ever read--a true idea of family values and loyalty, though a completely unconventional family.
[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
This is such a old copy - a penguin that originally cost 25p, has a lurid orange back cover and an uninspiring front cover design in black, white orange and green. I'd bought it second hand, and there was a piece of paper, credit card sized, blue with an arabic phrase written on it; used as a bookmark. I have no idea whatsoever as to what the arabic means.

This isn't a long read and I am surprised to see that I have had it sitting and waiting for almost two years! I really enjoyed this book. I've
Irene Ziegler
I discovered Truman Capote with In Cold Blood. Then I gobbled up everything else I could find in the library. This is the book that first brought him fame, and introduced me to southern fiction. While he didn't "invent a genre" here, as he did with In Cold Blood, his voice was diaphanous and faintly perfumed, like Tennessee Williams in the pre-cocktail morning. In fact, I think Capote and Williams created that iconic atmosphere of humid sadness in a rocking chair, and the young misfit in a faded ...more
Whatever you do, don't see the revolting movie version of this exquisite novella. This is poetry, prose, and perfection between two narrow covers. It is a simple story in the tradition of Carson McCullers, but without the prop of physical deformity or mental aberration. A young orphaned boy goes to live with two eccentric aunts: one childlike and sincere, one embittered and controlling. The elegant plot is driven by a crisis when the ambitious sister attempts to profit from the other, triggering ...more
Capote can write. He knows how to create atmosphere and characters. This short book is so well written, I like it a lot.
John Tipper
I chose to read Capote because the only long piece I had read of his was Answered Prayers, which the magazine Esquire serialized in the 1970s. I didn't much care for his expose of the jet-set but admired his stylish description. I had seen films based on his work and liked them a lot: Breakfast at Tiffany's and In Cold Blood. His shorter work for the New Yorker Mag. appealed to me, also.

In The Grass Harp and Other Stories, Capote demonstrates an astonishing flexibility and range of motion. Harp,
Read this because I enjoyed the movie. Hadn't realized it was a short story - and didn't read the rest of the stories in the collection, I'm afraid. Loved the quirky characters. My advice: read the story *before* watching the movie. This reminded me of Cold Sassy Tree and novels of that tradition of snug-bordering-on-corny-Americana, wonderful if done well, icky-sweet if mishandled.
Clemens Suter
I found this book ages ago in a small second hand bookstore in NYC, and I can’t recall why I bought it, as the summary of the story does not fit to the kind of books that I usually read. The copy that I have is a very old pocket book, with all the pages turned yellow and a very weird 60’s cover slapped around and alarmingly small print. This is not the most famous book by Truman Capote, certainly not as well-known as In Cold Blood, but the book is great. It is very poetic about youth and a coupl ...more
After I read "In Cold Blood" I wanted to read more from Capote. I finally got around to this novella and collection of short stories. I loved this book because of the rich, in-depth descriptions he gives to the settings and characters. In fact, everything he describes is so vivid and so beautifully detailed, it's so easy to experience each story as if you are an omniscient bystander watching the stories unfold from within the pages. The simplicity of life in the South during the 40s and 50s woul ...more
Isla McKetta
Between the deceptively simple language and the rich characters, I loved this book. It made me think a lot about what it means to be a big city writer who left her heart in a small town.
Okay... Americans CAN write good "classic" fiction. Very home-spun story, but deceptively compelling story that pokes around the soft-spots of child abandonment, homosexuality, class-ism, racism, and small-mindedness versus small-town charm.
Here's to hoping that I never have to read anything by Capote again.
"So little, once it has changed, changes back."
Truman Capote possessed the magic that made implausible things plausible. I read somewhere that he sometimes would fabricate elaborate encounters with people, even famous people, and just rattle off these stories not giving any kind of got damns to if anyone was going to question these meetings. But what's really funny is that people believed every word he said. Now that is a wizard of storytelling right there, as Capote made it sound and feel so easy. Capote was a character and after really tak ...more
Oskar Arnold
Brilliant. Comparable in style and subject matter but not quite up to his debut Other Voices, Other Rooms. Memorable lines and opinions on humanity and love. Feels slightly rushed towards the end however, unfortunately. His characters are as eclectic and colourful as any other Capote novel.

"When was it that first I heard of the grass harp? Long before the autumn we lived in the China tree; an earlier autumn, then; and of course it was Dolly who told me, no one else would have known to call it th
Juka Pakatsoshvili
liked it very much but still i want to admit that Capote's writing style was a little difficult to follow what was going on. there were a few ideas which i do not agree and have not ever heard such in my life, but it was one of the main reasons why I was so passionately interested in this book. for instance, there was wrong, for me, notion about love and how women should act when they are out or how one should make decision, not ordinary, but such important decision as, I think is one’s future. ...more
Добрая притча с грустным концом вполне в духе "Завтрака у Тиффани".

Вот вроде бы всё есть, но чего-то не хватает. Стержень повести - главная героиня Долли (которая мне невесть почему напоминает Сонечку Мармеладову) - её центральная ось, утекает из рук как дым и теряется где-то среди тех самых голосов травы, а ты так и не понял среди всех этих многослойных шёпотов и напевов, что же они всё-таки поведали. Может быть - я не поняла.

Книга напоминает нарезку из "лучших моментов" литературной жизни, сво
I was surprised how good this novella and series of short stories were. I'd forgotten what a gift Truman Capote had as a writer, both in his humor and in his humanity.

One passage from "The Grass Harp" that I really liked:

"Her dress was ripped down the front: she was as good as naked. Ray Oliver, Jack Mill and Big Eddie Stover, three grown men, cronies of the Sheriff, were dragging and slapping her through the grass. I wanted to kill them; and Catherine was trying to: but she didn't stand a chanc
Jessica Gordon
This is one weird novella. It's weird in a creepy sort of way. Capote tells the story of two older sisters who live together with another women who is Black but claims to be Native American. One sister is very wealthy and business oriented and the other sister, who basically lives for free in return for housekeeping, is very passive--and the latter sister lives in an entirely pink room. The three women take care of a boy, the narrator, who grows up in this strange house raised by three odd femal ...more
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The Male Gaze: The Queer Theory - The Grass Harp 9 30 Feb 20, 2013 08:58PM  
  • Collected Stories
  • Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintences and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career
  • Thirteen Stories
  • Knight's Gambit
  • The Delicate Prey and Other Stories
  • One Arm and Other Stories
  • Chemistry and Other Stories
  • Capote
  • Lightning Bug
  • Ship of Fools
  • The Premature Burial
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs
  • Selected Stories
  • Poor White
  • The River
Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.

He was born as Truman Streckfus Persons to a salesman Archulus Persons
More about Truman Capote...
In Cold Blood Breakfast at Tiffany's Other Voices, Other Rooms A Christmas Memory Music for Chameleons

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“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 . . .” 8 likes
“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.” 6 likes
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