The Complete Stories of Truman Capote (Cuentos completos)

by Truman Capote
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In Cold Blood was the first Capote work I read, and this the second. I remain struck by how skillfully he builds a scene and atmosphere and just sucks you in. It happened 100 times faster in these short stories than it did in the book--no small feat considering that I read these stories while commuting on public transportation. The real world just disappeared and I found myself in Capote's characters' worlds, watching and feeling as the stories unfolded. I'm not necessarily from any of the characters' worlds, but the stories are relate-able because they're told with raw honesty. These stories divulge intimate choices and thoughts and desires, exposing the complexity of what it means to be human. Capote does this so well that sometimes--most of the time--reading the collection felt like reading someone's diary. Excerpts that struck me: Shut a Final Door "...[s]he told him: 'Sorry, Walter, I can't afford you any longer. I understand you very well, and I have a certain amount of sympathy. It's very compulsive, your malice, and you aren't too much to blame, but I don't want ever to see you again because I'm not so well myself that I can afford it.'" (117) Children on Their Birthdays "'My precious papa said I live in the sky, but if he'd lived more in the sky he'd be rich like he wanted to be. The trouble with my papa was he did not love the Devil, he let the Devil love him. But I am very smart in that respect; I know the next best thing is very often the best.'" (145) "It has not been easy for him, Miss Bobbit's going. Because she'd meant more than that. Than what? Than being thirteen years old and crazy in love. She was the queer things in him, like the pecan tree and liking books and caring enough about people to let them hurt him. She was the things he was afraid to show anyone else." (153) The Thanksgiving Visitor "Perhaps it was strange for a young boy to have as his best friend an aging spinster, but neither of us had an ordinary outlook or background, and so it was inevitable, in our separate loneliness, that we should come to share a friendship apart." (243) Mojave "A few he had discovered himself; the majority were 'romances' she herself had stage-managed, friends she'd introduced him to, confidantes she had trusted to provide him with an outlet but not to exceed the mark." (285) "'It doesn't matter whose fault it is. We all, sometimes, leave each other out there under the skies, and we never understand why.'" (285)

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