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Story Review | Miriam by Truman Capote


The book club is reading The Shining by Stephen King this month. Absolutely creepy, that book. If I am Danny, I know I couldn’t ignore Room 217 either. And that’s really nerve-racking. Anyways, as if The Shining isn’t enough to scare, I have decided to read one of Truman Capote’s classic short story, Miriam, in the participation of All Hollows Read.

Truman Capote is such a delightful writer, in spite of this book’s theme and genre. The escalation of strangeness is so well-measured, it heightens the suspense immensely. And he deliberately did it all in delectable prose. To put it simply, there is finesse even in horror.

Then she met Miriam.

The strangeness of Miriam comes into a very ordinary background. The little girl’s sudden appearances caused an escalating disturbance to Mrs. Miller’s secluded ordinary life. Suddenly, her immaculate two-room apartment turned into a mess. It seemed that everything she held together is now coming apart.

Mrs. Miller’s face dissolved into a mask of ugly red lines; she began to cry, and it was an unnatural, tearless sort of weeping, as though, not having wept for a long time, she had forgotten how. Carefully she edged backward till she touched the door.

How strange and revealing it was, both at the same time, to realize that a human brain can create an awareness separately, yet parallel to our familiar. In Mrs. Miller’s case, I guess, it was the loneliness and seclusion that undid her. Her mind has wandered off without her knowing it, and then the realization came too late. When little Miriam became eerie and self-indulgent, Mrs. Miller was seized by a crippling fear on how to confront her suppressed self.

“Hello,” said Miriam.

Truman Capote’s take on the literature of the double is not just impressive, it is an actuality. It delivers the case more firmly and frightening.

So for All Hollows Read, I give you Miriam.

Rating:  5/5

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