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For years I've known this work existed, but never read it until now. I've been fishing about in contemporary fiction, looking for something entertaining, enlightening, and superbly well written, but my search ended entirely when I finally read this novel, written in 1951. Set in the South, in the countryside, this story draws you in to its surroundings, which are so important to its impact. Its three main characters, Dolly, Collin, and Catherine, are real presences that emerge from the lush southern environs as complex, blooming beings whose lives take time to develop and understand. There is nothing slick about this writing; it's just elegant and clear. The story is filled with interesting characters, and proceeds as if inspired by Twain. It is entertaining, poetic, and meaningful all at once. I found myself rereading the opening pages, picturing the scene that Capote presents, and feeling how brilliant it is in its elegiac and inspired imagery. The story is simple enough: a young boy, orphaned, lives with his two eccentric aunts in a small town in the South. One aunt is controlling, mean-spirited, and selfish, and the other is sweet, other-worldly, and gentle. When the mean aunt tries to exploit the sweet one by mass producing the sweet one's folk medicine remedy she learned from a traveling gypsy woman, the sweet aunt runs away from home with the orphan boy and her best friend, a strange Indian woman. They don't run too far, however, just to a local tree house in a China tree. From that point on, everyone learns something about themselves, including the mean aunt. The world is a generous place to Truman Capote, and it has mercies to give, and lessons to be learned. In fact, it's something of a magical world that Capote gives us, almost a precursor of the magical realism of Marquez and others. But as the characters learn about themselves, so we the readers learn too, about what love is, about change, and about what we accept in life. For Capote to have written this book at the age of 26 is truly a miracle. This book alone puts him in league with the greats. I highly recommend The Grass Harp to anyone looking for that one great book to read and treasure.