The Grass Harp
by Truman Capote
What’s is about: After his parents die, young Collin Fenwick is sent to live with his maiden aunts, the dippy Dolly and the serious Verena. An argument between the aunts breaks out over the production of Dolly’s home medicine, and Collin, Dolly and a servant Catherine run away to live in a Chinaberry tree and inciting a battle between the two sisters’ temperaments.
Why should you read it: An early Capote novel written when he was only 26, this is another of his lyrical, poignant novels of the South, full of vibrant, fully living characters and vivid description. The conflict between the sisters may seem small, but hides a battle about the joys of life verses conformity. An often overlooked gem amid Capote's other books.
Made into a play and a 1991 film. Often this short novel is collected with A Tree of Night and Other Stories.
“A waterfall of color flowed across the dry and strumming leaves; and I wanted then for the Judge to hear what Dolly had told me: that it was a grass harp, gathering, telling, a harp of voices remembering a story."