Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Truman Capote Short Story Discovered, Now In The Strand


THE STRAND magazine's newest issue has been released, and it's a special one that features a previously unknown short story by legendary writer Truman Capote.

"Another Day in Paradise" was uncovered within the archives of the Library of Congress.  The story was written in pencil in a red notebook, which Capote purchased from one of the world's oldest stationers in Venice.

Capote is well-known for the 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, which inspired the film adaptation starring Audrey Hepburn, which captured the glitz and glamour of post-war New York City. He also authored the true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood, but he established himself as a major figure in American literature with short stories and novellas.

"Capote is, I would say, probably one of the top five short story writers of the 20th century," said Andrew F. Gulli. the editor of the Strand Magazine. He discovered the story, one of many lost works written by literary legends of the 20th century he has discovered.

Gulli said of why he thought "Another Day in Paradise" was not published, "The works that ended up paying the bills for authors were not short stories. They were novels. But some authors really excelled at short stories and loved writing them, and Capote was one of those people. And if you find something completed by Capote, you can count on it being something that's very, very satisfying...

"('Another Day in Paradise') kind of has the feeling of Breakfast at Tiffany's, where there are people trying to find their way. This story is about two characters. One is weighed down by the past and finds it difficult to process struggles in life with any form of personal growth. And she's very bitter. And the other character has lost so much, has really, really suffered, but (is trying) to form a meaningful human connection.

"And that's what I love about Capote. He wrote stories that were not necessarily about the supernatural or something falling in the night, but just about loss, bitterness, an expat in Italy, and he turned it into something that has a very profound message."

Please enjoy this excerpt from this newly-discovered Capote short story:

"'HELP! Help! Another Day in Paradise.'

Miss Iris Greentree had spoken aloud, but quite to herself, unless one counted Giovanna, the sulky young servant girl who was pouring her mistress's morning cup of coffee. Miss Greentree did not count Giovanna, though earlier, during the height of her enthusiam for Siciliana, persons as well as landscapes, she'd doted on the girl and described in a journal her quaint habits and peasant-child observations. No more. Now the sight of Giovanna increased her constant sense of apathetic wrath, merely because she was Sicilian. In short, a thief, a liar, a sluggard: someone, a something, to be blotted out, ignored. And this, too, was how Miss Greentree felt about the landscape. 'Help. Help,' she murmured, blinking her eyes against the stark, once-blissful sun that burned in a sky of idiotic blue.

From the vantage of her bougainvillea-vined terrace, Miss Greentree had an aeroplane-view, a panoramic bella vista - suitably, for 'Bella Vista' was the name of her pink, mountainside villa. Orange and olive and almond trees, the latter snowily flowering in the immaculate sunshine of Sicily's February-spring, surrounded the villa and spilled, amid Greek ruins, down a green valley to the greener Mediterranean. If the padrona had cared to look to the left, which she did not, she could've admired white-peaked Mt. Etna, its eternal smoke spiralling skyward. And on a clear day, such as this, she could see, seventy miles off, that fabled peninsula, Syracuse. But Miss Greentree no longer took advantage of clear days. Fortunately, or so she'd come to consider it, Bella Vista commanded no views of Taros, the local village; wasn't it wretched enough that she had to hear it? The continuous broadcast of hanguing voices, the piazza hubbub and oompah off-key concerts of the (ha! ha!) town-band, the wailing children and serenading accordions and roaring Vespas and howling dogs and feast-day fireworks and - oh, purgatory - the church-bells. Those tintinnabulating bells that woke her at dawn, at midnight, at any hour the fool monsignore decreed. And yet, could she deny that there had been a time, not too distant, when each of these elements, from flowers and view to fireworks and bells, particularly the bells, had seemed poetry alive, a composition so simple and classic it inspired tears? For that matter, it brought tears to her eyes now. 'Un altro giorno in paradiso,' she repeated, trusting Giovanna would catch the contempt in her tone.

'Si, Signorina. Bella giornata. Ma la Sicilia e sempre bella,' said Giovanna, though she'd perfectly understood her employer's ironic intent. Everyone in the village knew the foreign signorina despised the place. And why. It was because Signor Carlo had jilted her. Before that, she'd been studying the dialect and discussing conversion with monsignore and spending a bandit's ransom building Bella Vista. Would anyone ever forget how the signorina behaved the day the workers finished - a wild woman, wild with wine and dancing an old-fashioned tarantella, shamelessly throwing her arms around Signor Carlo. It was Signor Carlo who had designed and built Bella Vista, but how pazzo of the signorina to have believed he would share it with her! A handsome man like Signor Carlo? Who could pick among each winter's hotel-crop of eager foranesi. The signorina was a mad old maid. Mad and mean and stingy and rich." 

For more information on how to obtain this edition of the magazine, please click here to check out The Strand's website ( The issue, which also has stories by Joyce Carol Oates, John M. Floyd, and Derrick Belanger, is $8.95 and available on newsstands through November 25.

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