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The Complete Stories of Truman Capote Hardcover – Unabridged, September 21, 2004

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The Complete Stories of Truman Capote + Breakfast at Tiffany's & Other Voices, Other Rooms: Two Novels (Modern Library) + In Cold Blood (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books)
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (September 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679643109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679643104
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,218,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The common perception of Capote (who died in 1984) is that he had a brilliant early beginning to a career that eventually fizzled out in drug use and soured celebrity. His "new nonfiction" book, In Cold Blood (1966), the true story of a Kansas murder told with great fictional technique and elan, is generally regarded as his finest achievement. But now, for the first time, all of Capote's short stories are being published together, an event that signifies a renewed appreciation of his overall contribution to literature, for evidence is presented in this one volume that he should be ranked as a major American short story writer. By instinct, he produced the amalgam of fact and fiction that became In Cold Blood; similarly but contrarily, by instinct he wrote short stories always intent on maintaining the form's integrity as distinct from the novel. Most of Capote's short story work was concentrated in the early years of his career, the 1940s, but his capacity for writing deeply thought-out, deeply felt stories continued into the 1980s, from the first story in the collection, "The Walls Are Cold," a short, entertaining piece about a young, flirtatious socialite, to the last story, "One Christmas," set in the Alabama and New Orleans of his boyhood, a story conjured from the heart--but free of overripe sentiment--about learning the differences in how people love. Both a broadening of theme and deepening in treatment are observable when the stories in the collection are read in order; all of them are linked by a shimmering, but never showy, eloquence and sensitive observation of the personal environments his characters inhabit, both psychological and physical. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


 “An abundance of riches. . . . It is not hard at all to open to any page . . . and be amused, moved, intrigued.” —Newsday

 “To best experience Capote the stylist, one must go back to his short fiction. . . . One experiences as strongly as ever his gift for concrete abstraction and his spectacular observancy.” —The New Yorker

“It is a stunning experience to reread this fiction . . . and to realize how very golden this boy was. . . . We are in the presence of a tremendous talent, and a fully mature technique as well. Norman Mailer’s judgment that Capote was the most perfect writer of their generation—‘he writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm’—seems true and just.” —The New Criterion

“Capote does some things perfectly than many writers can’t do at all. . . . He summons the sensory world in its bewildering, inexhaustible richness.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

Customer Reviews

Capote's short stories are eccentric and intelligent.
A. Bowman
I still remember when I read "Miriam" in my junior high school literature book.
Phillip O.
These stories are some of the best short stories I've ever read.
A. Marin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

239 of 242 people found the following review helpful By Phillip O. VINE VOICE on November 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I believe a lot of people have forgotten or don't know that Truman Capote, in addition to being a brilliant novelist, was a gifted short story writer. I still remember when I read "Miriam" in my junior high school literature book. Later, I started reading all of Capote's stories and I eventually stumbled upon my all time favorite short story (of any writer) - "Children on Their Birthdays" ("Yesterday afternoon the six-o'clock bus ran over Miss Bobbit.") "A Christmas Memory" is another all time favorite and one of the most touching stories I've ever read. Capote was a master at using the English language - his words are simple, elegant, beautiful and most memorable.

All of Capote's stories are collected here for the first time, the year that Capote would have turned 80. The stories are:

The Walls Are Cold

A Mink of One's Own

The Shape of Things

Jug of Silver


My Side of the Matter

Preacher's Legend

A Tree of Night

The Headless Hawk

Shut a Final Door

Children on Their Birthdays

Master Misery

The Bargain (never before published)

A Diamond Guitar

House of Flowers

A Christmas Memory

Among the Paths to Eden

The Thanksgiving Visitor


One Christmas
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on January 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It has been just over twenty years since Truman Capote --- the controversial and tiny, child-voiced man of a mega-writer who needs no introduction --- left this life, yet his work still resonates with the deadly Southern charm of making love to a sexy stranger during a sudden summer downpour.

A reader must make his or her own way in these lonely Alabama and Louisiana evenings, accompanied by diamond guitars, lost ladies, circus freaks, childhood bullies, soda shops, society types, emerging sexualities, bad parents, great Christmases, train rides, fearful hidings, fatal romances, poverty, big city scams, eccentric artists, identity issues, and the broken American dreams that populate the twenty eerie stories in this collection.

It is in the early autobiographical stories, published in ladies' magazines between 1943 and 1956, when Capote was first flexing his muscles as a fiction and journalistic talent, which offer an inspirational yet heartbreaking glance into the author's early years. From rural Mobile to spectacular New York, Capote repeatedly employs the devices of the weathered mink that must be sold, the beautiful guitar that calms the savages, the alluring yet dangerous stranger, and, most importantly, the creative prison every artist endures at the hands of a planet mismanaged by religion, accountants, gossip, brutes and thieves.

It is the realization of imprisonment without parole or escape --- a theme the author would lustfully follow until his greatest nonfiction success, IN COLD BLOOD, and his greatest failure, addiction to fame and drugs --- that Capote most poignantly explored in his pre-diva years.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mostly Mozart VINE VOICE on April 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This volume contains the nineteen stories that Truman Capote published, plus "The Bargain", a story never before published.

Reynolds Price, in his introduction, states that Hemingway and Capote are the ". . . only two writers of distinguished fiction . . . to become American household names." The comparisons with Hemingway go further, I think, than that. Both writers produced their best work by age forty or so, and both, at that point, exhibited increasingly bizarre and self-destructive behavior, becoming celebrities more than writers. Capote was forty when he published In Cold Blood in 1965, and he produced very little work at all after that. Only three of the stories here were written after 1960.

So we have seventeen stories dated from 1943, when Capote was eighteen or nineteen, to 1960, plus three later stories. As Price notes, several of the earlier stories betray the influence of his earlier contemporaries and fellow southerners Eudora Welty and Carson McCullers. Yet even in many of these, Capote's voice is his own. "Children on Their Birthdays", for example, is a marvelous story.

Taken as a whole, this collection is a reminder of what a great writer Capote was and what a tragedy it was that his muse abandoned him so early.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Aleksandra Nita-Lazar on July 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Truman Capote was a brilliant, eccentric novelist and author of a shocking at the time of its publication, documentary fiction book "In Cold Blood". And although he is famous for these works, his short stories are equally captivating and original. They are small masterpieces, weird and magnetizing.

The protagonists are usually strange children (in his other works, Capote did not pay much attention to children), fascinating and different than adults, with their own world, dreams and agendas, or alienated, nerdish, unhappy adults, losers, who also have much of a child in them. Some of the protagonists are said to be modeled on the real people the author met during the course of his life, but some can be only attributed to his imagination...

The world in the stories is only semi-realistic, like a dream, everything is wrapped in a fog of uncertainty. My favorite stories are " Children On Their Birthdays" (the longest of the stories, I think, and very well structured) where the life of a certain Miss Bobbitt, a girl of extraordinary discipline and set life goals, is abruptly ended by the afternoon bus; "Miriam" (which won The O'Henry Prize), where an elderly lady enters into a nightmare, after meeting at the cinema an angelic-looking little girl-demon, not to be able to get rid of her again (actually cost me some sleepless nights...); "Master Misery" about a mysterious New York City man, who buys people's dreams and a girl who gets addicted to dream-selling; and "A Tree of Night", about a dreary encounter on the train. The stories are spooky, but if analyzed, the events recalled may not have anything strange in them to the outside observer; yet the interpretation and way in which they are told suggest otherwise.

These short stories show the other side of Capote's fiction and are a great round-up for anyone who wants to know his works thoroughly.
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