A TREE OF NIGHT and Other Stories by Truman Capote

A TREE OF NIGHT and Other Stories

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Doubtful- yes- for the critical reception accorded Truman Capote last year- and the sensational success of his first book will establish acceptance, in many quarters, for this, his second. As in Other Voices, Other Rooms, Mr. Capote still concerns himself with dark corners and perversions. However, in using the short story rather than the novel form to play around these inverted folk, A Tree of Night avoids the rambling vagaries that characterized Other Voices. These stories are bold, even crystalline, showing a remarkable beauty of language and a variation of setting that eliminates the hot house, overgrown plant atmosphere of Capote's novel. There is the story of Miriam, a lonely New Yorker in her sixties who finds herself suddenly aware that she is schizophrenic, and faced with her image in the shape of a persistent, evil little girl of ten... The title story, which takes place on a hot, stale train going to Atlanta, deals with the sophomore Kay and her encounters with two passengers, -- a drunken fat woman, and a deaf, salacious old man, these two representing a kind of tenacious insanity... Master Misery, another New York City story, tells of Sylvia who sells her dreams, and in the process, her soul, to a gentleman who types them up and files them away.....The already known The Headless Hawk goes into subterranean twisted-mind territory and the strange goings on between a homosexual- heterosexual art dealer and his equally homosexual-heterosexual love.....There are others, like Shut a Final Door, in which a man is pursued by his own private demons, and like Children on their Birthdays, which presents an overly mature and frustrated child -- all sensitive and creative, with their own special type of brilliance. Mr. Capote sets up struggles between his characters and then places them in environments that waver from the psychotic to the supernatural... Not palatable reading for the conservative, the tender skinned. The market is obvious, from his first.
Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1949
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1949




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