A Swiss publisher was searching for chapters of Truman Capote’s unfinished final novel last summer when he stumbled upon a different find. While poring over Capote’s writings and papers at the New York Public Library, the publisher, Peter Haag, discovered a collection of previously unpublished short stories and poems from Capote’s youth.
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Four of the stories, believed to have been written from 1935 to 1943, appear in German translations in the German publication ZEITmagazin. Those stories will be seen in German more than a year ahead of the scheduled release of the full collection, a dozen poems and roughly 20 stories, by Random House in English and by Kein & Aber in German.
Editor David Ebershoff says:
By the time Capote was writing these early stories, his voice was already formed. Reading the manuscripts — with his corrections and edits — is fascinating. You can literally see a young genius at work. I don’t use that word lightly, but these early stories show that Capote’s talent and way of experiencing the world was with him from a very young age
Even in translation, Capote’s style is immediately recognizable in the short stories, under the titles “Miss Belle Rankin,” “This Here Is From Jamie,” “Saturday Night” and “The Horror in the Swamp,” laced with his incisive attention to detail and themes of longing for love and acceptance, and the transience of life.
Capote, who died in 1984, at 59, is believed to have written these works between the time he was 11 and 19, although not all are dated.