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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  4,932 Ratings  ·  223 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 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 Cather
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poppycock : Capote, searching for his voice, bakes a pretentious poppyseed cake with an excess of passion-fruit curds.
George Seaton
Oct 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Liz Estrada
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 . . .”

Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most beautiful stories I have ever read--a true idea of family values and loyalty, though a completely unconventional family.
Joseph Sciuto
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
[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
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love this. Reminded me of Harper Lee
Jan 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Review to come later when I'm feeling more inspired.
Liam Russell
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Grass Harp is a beautiful, poetic, heartwarming and at moments heart-wrenching story with touches of unforgettable humor. This meaningful tale is one of my Truman Capote favorites. You’re sure to laugh ... as well as wipe away a tender tear.
Nicholas Trandahl
There is something so magical and so full of charm within the early works of Truman Capote. The ripened urban specifics of Answered Prayers and In Cold Blood, and to a lesser extent Breakfast at Tiffany's, pale somewhat in comparison to Other Voices, Other Rooms, Summer Crossing, many of Truman's early short fiction, and ... The Grass Harp. The Grass Harp, after this first reading, is certainly my favorite story of Truman Capote's. It was full of that charm and magic and hearkened back to the po ...more
Irene Ziegler
Sep 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
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
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
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.
Isla McKetta
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-readings
Capote can write. He knows how to create atmosphere and characters. This short book is so well written, I like it a lot.
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely unreal! You have to read these books!
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The Male Gaze: The Queer Theory - The Grass Harp 9 42 Feb 20, 2013 08:58PM  
  • Lightning Bug
  • Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career
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  • Ship of Fools
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs
  • Selected Stories
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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
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“...of all things this was the saddest, that life goes on: if one leaves one's lover, life should stop for him, and if one disappears from the world, then the world should stop, too: and it never did. And that was the real reason for most people getting up in the morning: not because it would matter but because it wouldn't.” 51 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.” 11 likes
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