Review: A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

A few weeks ago I spent a delightful afternoon putting up my Christmas tree, then poured myself a glass of mulled wine and settled down to read a festive themed book, this one: A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote.

Opening sentence: Imagine a morning in late November.

Comprising of six short stories, this is a biographical wander into Christmas moments, inspired by writer Truman Capote’s life.

Some of the tales had a vague Christmas link, others were more blatant and I particularly loved the ones that focused on young Buddy’s friendship with his much older cousin, Sook who is a pure soul and teaches him a lot about human nature. As Christmas is a time for goodwill and love – she is a beacon of that.

“You don’t understand. You’ve never hated anybody.”
“No, I never have. We’re allotted just so much time on earth, and I wouldn’t want the Lord to see me wasting mine in any such manner.”

Amongst the evocative stories of small-town Christmases, local legends and rituals, there is are some contrasting stories including a particularly bleak tale about a woman, Sylvia who literally sells her dreams to make money and the unfortunate ending of Miss Bobbit… There to remind us, I guess, about balance and happiness.

We wish you a merry Christmas

Written in Truman Capote’s signature lyrical tone – A Christmas Memory is packed full of canny observations and is an engaging blend of joy, realisation and bittersweet moments that always seem to come to light through the festive season.

I loved how none of these stories conveyed a sort of ‘traditional’ Christmas scene – highlighting that everyone’s version of this time of year really is unique. It’s always nice to get an insight into another person’s Christmas, so if you’re looking for a take on festive stories that definitely contain no schmalz, then pour yourself a mulled wine and spend an afternoon with A Christmas Memory.

If you’re in the mood for some other more offbeat Christmas reads, what about Hercule Poirot’s Christmas by Agatha Christie or Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas by Adam Kay?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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