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Oh, I'd forgotten about this story! It's so good and extremely creepy. It reminds me of some of Shirley Jackson's work, actually; the sort of ordinariness that gradually becomes horrifying.

I need to read this again.

Vipula Gupta


This sounds like a positively rivetting story. And it seems like I will have to order it. I generally resist buying books about which I have read on blogs but I broke the rule after reading your take on 'The Yellow lighted bookshop' which I now own :)
I think 'Miriam' is going to be my second purchase.

Dorothy W.

I've never read any Capote, but certainly wouldn't have expected him to write a story like this! You're right that we come to think we know certain authors even if we have never read them. It's good to be reminded that we don't really know what we think we know!


I love Truman Capote, and he is very definitely Southern Gothic. He does creepy very well. I've read several of his books, but there's a short story, and I can't remember the name of it right now, that blew me away. It's about a little girl on her birthday, I think. I'll have to look it up.


Ooh, I haven't read any of Capote's shorts, only In Cold Blood. This one sounds delicious. Definitely will give it a go.



One book and only one I now own and have read by Truman Capote is “In Cold Blood.” I met Mr. Capote in Washington, D.C. (I am trying to get to my Journals to verify that but I believe it was D.C.), in 1965 at the time, I bought the book, and he signed it for me. It was not until the mid 80’s that I realized the significance of having a signed book by Mr. Capote. If I now had the reading power of just a few years ago, I would try to read more of Capote – I will look to your posts to hear more about this most complex man.


Kitty--I did read one of Shirley Jackson's novels, but it was so long ago that I can't remember it. I really need to read her again and reread her story The Lottery. I love an author who does creepy well.
Vipula--Wasn't the Yellow Lighted Bookshop good?! I hope you enjoy this story--sometimes I can find the story online to read, but this time I didn't notice it. I think I'll have to get one of his books of short stories as well and read more! I wish I could be better about not buying so many books I read about!
Dorothy--I tend to have an image in my mind of so many writers and what their work is about, I guess I shouldn't assume I know it. I was quite surprised by this. I was expecting some sort of social commentary about 50s-60s upperclass society or something. It was a great story, though!
Lisa--If you remember the title of the story, please let me know. My library doesn't have any of his story anthologies, so I'll have to check out the public library. I may have to look for more Southern Gothic. I tend not to pick up many Southern authors, but I usually like them when I do.
Andi--I have In Cold Blood on my TBR pile. I saw the movie recently made about it and have wanted to read the actual always a matter of getting around to it.
Edd--Wow, now that would be a real treasure! What was it like to meet him? I don't know much about him really, other than a bit about his books and his famous friendship with Harper Lee, but I'd like to learn more!!


Oh, you mustmustmust read Shirley Jackson. Great story about her: when she was in college, she wrote a story that was published in the campus lit mag. A male student read the story, was knocked out by it, and never having met her said "I'm going to marry this girl." And he did. THAT'S how good a writer Ms. Jackson was!

Her book "The Haunting of Hill House" is still the scariest ghost story I think I've ever read; fascinating characters, the creepiest haunted house in the world, and she does it all without EVER showing you a ghost.

The original movie (w/Julie Harris) is great too. Skip the excruciatingly bad remake.


Kitty--Sadly, I think I did see the remake and thought it was pretty hokey, though I have not read the book so perhaps won't associate the two when I get around to it!! I think I will save that for Fall reading, but I plan on reading The Lottery as my next short story! That's a great story about Shirley Jackson by the way. I wonder what the story was?!


The Jackson story is called "Janice", and it's a very short story (less than a page, if I recall), told almost entirely in dialogue. It packs quite a punch. You can find it in her collection "Come Along With Me."

The interesting thing about Jackson is that she wrote terrifying fiction, but also wrote absolutely hysterical stories about her family. "Life Among the Savages" and "Raising Demons" are delightful and also highly recommended.


I've never read any Truman Capote but I did read Deborah Davis's Party of the Century, which was all about his famous black and white ball and was just a wonderful non-fiction read. I really must read something by him - your wonderful review makes it very tempting.


I'm really happy that you read "Miriam" and weren't disappointed - I knew you would like it :) Another absolutely great story by him is "Master Misery" (I think this is my favourite and acctualy one of the best short stories I've ever read, maybe because it's a bit metaphysical and about dreams and that subject is very close to me). If you feel like reading a bit more of Capote then this is the story I would recommend.


The short story I mentioned in my earlier comment is entitles Children on Their Birthdays. It was written in 1955 and is in several collections of his short stories as well as anthologies of Southern Literature.

Ex Libris

"Miriam" was one of the stories included in my copy of 'The Grass Harp and Other Stories' which I read earlier this summer. That collection contains some great Southern gothic stories, especially the title story. Capote's first novel, 'Other Voices, Other Rooms', is also a great Southern gothic story.


Kitty--Thanks so much for finding the title. I will look for all of them--I love recommendations! I'm looking forward to reading her this weekend and will see what else I can get my hands on of hers.
Litlove--Doesn't he seem like he was a truly intriguing person. I would love to read about him and his contemporaries. Harper Lee must have some good stories to tell! I need to read In Cold Blood though it sounds a little gruesome!
Chihiro--Thanks so much for suggesting this story--it was great. I even photocopied it so I could keep it (as I read it from a library book). I will look for the other one now as well! And I am always happy to take suggestions--I don't mind reading at random, but it's nice when someone has read something before me and I know it is good!
Lisa--I think I need to find his collected stories--it sounds like he has written some good ones. Is this one creepy as well?
Ex Libris--Thanks--I've gotten so many great ideas. I will look for that collection. I think I need to try more Southern Gothic now. I don't read enough Southern Lit in general. I had heard of that book, but now I'll have to get it!


Speaking of Harper Lee, there's a recent bio of her that's a good read -- and that includes plenty about her relationship with Truman. Really interesting stuff, and shows just how much she helped him with "In Cold Blood" -- as opposed to him helping her with "To Kill a Mockingbird", which is what a lot of people thought.

You probably know that the character of "Dill" in Mockingbird was based on Capote, but just in case you didn't, it's a cool litfact.


Kitty--I would like to read that bio, though not sure when I'll get to it. I wonder if it is in paperback yet? And I didn't know Dill was modeled after T.C. I did hear that he supposedly helped her with To Kill a Mockingbird, but I know (from the movie) that she actually helped him with his book--I love learning this sort of stuff about authors. Fascinating people!


I believe it is in paperback. It's a very good read... as is the bio of Shirley Jackson by Judy Oppenheimer (one of the best lit bios I think I've ever read.)


Yesterday night, I started reading Capote with Miriam. It deserves all the positive remarks that are made here. "A Capote Reader" by Penguin Pub. includes that story, too. The combination of old woman-little girl is not something I encounter frequently. Most of the time this type of a fiction is designed, based on old woman-young boy or old man-young girl... and, using the resemble factor between the characters makes the story powerful I guess. I wish you all have a nice reading season.


Arma--Wasn't this a great story? I need to reread it now that a little time has passed. I hadn't thought of the way Capote used two female characters--it works well here, doesn't it. Have a nice reading season, too! :)

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