Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Truman Show (sorry)

So I'm in what could potentially be a fallow reading period.  However, one of my friends has been reading the short stories of Truman Capote recently.  I decided to play follow the leader on this one and I took Capote's "Collected Stories" out of the library.

I have read some of him before.  A couple of short stories, some journalism, and In Cold Blood, although I don't think I made it through to the end of that last one.  I had liked some of what I'd read, but at the same time it was hard to shake the image of him as a proto-reality TV figure.  But that's unfair.  To say that he was a better writer than Dr. Joyce Brothers was a clinical psychologist is damning with faint praise.

My friend had high praise for "Children On Their Birthdays."  This was a new one on me and I wanted to see what he was on about.  It is an amazingly well-told story, sort of a turning of the Tom Sawyer/Becky Thatcher courtship on its head.

"My Side of the Matter" is good too.  There's a back-and-forth here as to whether you should have any sympathy for the narrator, who is very hard done by if you believe him.  It feels like witnessing one half of a battle of unreliable narrators.


susan said...

It's been a long time since I thought about Truman Capote although he was definitely famous when I was young. I liked Breakfast at Tiffany's but avoided In Cold Blood - saw the movie later only under protest. Now that you've described these two short stories I'm interested enough to check them out myself.

susan said...

ps: Your comparison remark about him and Dr. Brothers made me smile.

Ben said...

There are some bleak stories and some spooky ones. Most are quite good. I've never seen the ICB movie. I saw Capote, which had to do with both the crime and the writing of the book.

Dr Joyce Brothers was in one of those Ellery Queen episodes. Not terrible, but as the victim she didn't have to do much. But she struck me as someone who's fame had little or nothing to do with what she actually did.