Posted in Short Stories

Truman Capote: A Diamond Guitar

A♥  A♥  A♥  A♥  A♥  A♥  A♥  A♥

It’s Week 26 of Deal Me In 2014 which means we’re at the halfway point.  I selected the Ace of Hearts which led me to Truman Capote’s short story “A Diamond Guitar”.  My Deal Me In 2014 list can be seen here.  DMI is sponsored by Jay at Bibliophilopolis

Up until now, the only Capote stories I’ve read have been his holiday stories, “A Christmas Memory”, “The Thanksgiving Visitor” and “One Christmas”.  They are all excellent and have made me want to read more of his work.


“A Diamond Guitar” is a well-crafted story with well-developed characters.  Mr. Schaeffer, an inmate at a farm prison for committing murder, begins and ends the story alone (in prison, but alone).  In between, he befriends a Cuban kid, Tico Feo.  Tico, an inmate himself, entertains the rest of the prisoners by playing Spanish songs on his guitar decorated with glass diamonds.  He also tells stories about his adventures prior to prison – most of which everyone knows are lies.

Capote conveys a certain innocence with Tico’s and Mr. Schaeffer’s friendship.  At times, the innocence works; however, other times, it seems at odds with a story about a farm prison.  This story was written in 1950, before Capote’s famous work of non-fiction, In Cold Blood.   I’ve never read this book, but perhaps my expectations for “A Diamond Guitar” were influenced more by the film versions of In Cold Blood than by his holiday works.  I expected holiday stories to be a little sentimental, but not a prison story.  However, “A Diamond Guitar” is good enough for me to continue exploring Capote’s work.

14 thoughts on “Truman Capote: A Diamond Guitar

    1. I’ve seen the film Breakfast At Tiffany’s and enjoyed it but it didn’t make me go running out to read Capote’s works. Reading A Christmas Memory is what really got me interested.

      1. I greatly dislike the ending of the movie version of Breakfast, and the ending of the original story is much different, which is why I like it so much. It wasn’t until someone mentioned that the ending was different that I ever considered reading it, to be honest.

      2. Hmmm…a different ending could be good! I also found Mickey Rooney’s “Asian” character somewhat puzzling. I couldn’t tell if he was suppose to be realistic or if he was supposed to be more campy. I thought he fell into the latter category.

      3. Yes, I have no idea of Rooney’s character was meant to be serious or not, but he definitely came off as campy! I really like the first 2/3 or so of the movie, but… I have never felt like Holly and Paul would be happy together, so the ending was just as depressing to me as the ending of The Graduate.

      4. Your comments have made me want to read Breakfast At Tiffany’s now. It hadn’t interested me that much before. Capote’s novel The Grass Harp sounds intriguing, also.

    2. sooo agree! glad to have found a kindred spirit about this, hamlettethedame 🙂
      great post, Dale – tho much add that imho, the movie version was so ho-ri-ble & quite tragic for how great it might have been…

  1. Hi Dale,
    My old, old book club read Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I enjoyed it well enough, but didn’t go off on a capote reading spree. I’ve been hearing great things about In Cold Blood for years but still haven’t found time for it. I did read his short story “Tree of Night” in a prior year’s DMI and thought it was very very good.

    1. Hi Jay,
      I’ve heard about In Cold Blood for a long time, also. I think I’ve seen two different film versions – one with Robert Blake and one with Anthony Edwards, but I’ve never read it. For whatever reason, he seems like an author I’ll end up reading Here and there over a long period of time as opposed to reading a lot of his work at once.

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