Sunday, February 06, 2011

A Christmas Memory (Modern Library)
A Christmas Memory 

Nostalgia and sentimentality are woven together beautifully in this brief memoir by Truman Capote. Written in the mid-fifties before the peak of his acclaim and subsequent dissolution, this is a touching story of friendship and the memories of youth. In a simpler time and place the young Capote shares the essence of Christmas with his elder cousin. The story is a prime example of what William L. Nance in The Worlds of Truman Capote calls Capote's ''fiction of nostalgia," in which the author looks back fondly upon his Southern childhood. These stories  border on bathos yet in doing so evoke a gentle and distant childhood uncorrupted by the complications of adulthood.  The narrator of the story tells the reader to ''imagine a morning in late November" more than twenty years ago.  With this beginning we are once again taken to that place where Capote in his typical habile style demonstrates his ability to create a world that is at once uniquely his own yet can speak to readers from far different climes and times. This is a moving memoir for those willing to believe.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote. Modern Library, New York. 1996 (1956).

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