کتاب خاطره ای از کریسمس

اثر ترومن کاپوتی از انتشارات مروارید - مترجم: مهدی فاتحی-دهه 1950 میلادی

‫خاطره‌ای از کریسمس از کارهای مهم و کلاسیک ترومن کاپوتی است. مجموعه‌ای از سه داستان که دو شخصیت اصلی آن ثابت هستند؛ پسرکی هفت‌ساله که شباهت زیادی به کودکی خود کاپوتی دارد و پیردختری دوست‌داشتنی.‏ کاپوتی داستان «خاطره‌ای از کریسمس» و «مهمان روز شکرگزاری» را در دهه‌ی شصت یعنی زمانی که در اوج شهرت و اعتبار بود نوشت. منتقدان درباره‌ی خاطره‌ای از کریسمس کاپوتی معتقدند که او با این کار زبردستی‌اش را در به تصویر کشیدن شخصیت کودکان و بهره‌گیری‌اش از کلمات و تصاویر دلنشین به اثبات رسانده‌است.


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Well, finished tonight with my 10 year old. Note to self....last 2 pages dont sit well. Lots of tears shed by my daughter and Im trying not to let my voice crack with emotion. Easy to get invested in Miss Sook and Buddy! Quote by daughter @so much love@.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
“Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar. A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable—not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate, too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “It’s fruitcake weather!”

“Always, the path unwinds through lemony sun pools and pitch vine tunnels.”

I wish that I could have gone down that lemony sun pool path with seven year old Buddy (Truman Capote) and his cousin Miss Sook. What a delightful woman she was, and he was so fortunate to have had her in is life. Together they made Christmas a joy. Miss Sook made around 30 fruitcakes for people that she knew in town, storekeepers, the mailman, and anyone else that they liked, and this year when they bought whiskey for the cake, they bought it from Mr. HaHa, who gave it to them in exchange for a fruitcake. He was a scary man to approach, but approach him they did.

As they wound down their lemony path, they had to come up with money for making the cake, so they had saved money throughout the year from selling flowers they picked here and there. Movies then were only a dime, and I recall picking flowers to sell so I could go to the movies twice a week, as my mother would only give me a quarter for my allowance, which got me into the movies on Saturdays with some leftover to buy cola, popcorn, Flicks candy, or Milk Duds. Who remembers Flicks candy? They only tasted good to me if I sucked them, otherwise that chocolate was horrible. A few years ago I found them at a store here in town and watched a movie on TV while letting them melt in my mouth. I saved the package.

During those years of picking flowers for the Sunday matinees, I found a fenced in yard that had no lawn, just flowers everywhere, and I asked the woman who gardened if I could have some to sell. She allowed me to pick some, but not enough to continue this practice, since she loved looking at her flowers too.

To gather up enough money to make fruitcakes each year, Buddy and Miss Sook held rummage sales, “sold buckets of hand-picked blackberries, jars of homemade jam and apple jelly and peach preserves,” and as I already said, flowers that they gathered from different places were also sold. The 40s and 50s were a time when peaches tasted like peaches, when jam tasted like the fruit it was made from, and so my grandmother made the best peach jam, just as I am sure Miss Sook’s did.

This was Truman Capote’s childhood memory, and it is so beautifully written, and one of the best Christmas stories ever. Miss Sook was rather eccentric, like the woman in the book “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson who took care of children. I love eccentric people like this, and I wish that I had them in my life when I was a child. I remember so little of my Christmases, and like Truman Capote I was given mostly clothes.

Sooks Fruitcake Recipe
Sooks Famous @Christmas Memory@ Fruitcake

2 1/2 lb Brazil nuts
2 1/2 lb White and dark raisins;
-mixed
1/2 lb Candied cherries
1/2 lb Candied pineapple
1 lb Citron
1/2 lb Blanched almonds
1/2 lb Pecan halves
1/2 lb Black walnuts
1/2 lb Dried figs
1 tb Nutmeg
1 tb Cloves
2 tb Grated bitter chocolate
8 oz Grape jelly
8 oz Grape juice
8 oz Bourbon whisky
1 tb Cinnamon
1 tb Allspice
2 c Butter
2 c Sugar
12 Eggs
4 c Flour

Cut the fruits and nuts into small pieces, and coat them
with some of the flour. Cream the butter and sugar
together, adding one egg at a time, beating well. Add the
rest of the flour. Add the floured fruits and nuts, spices,
seasoning, and flavorings. Mix by hand. Line a large cake
tin with wax paper, grease, then flour. Pour the mixture
into the pan and put it in a steamer over cold water.
Close the steamer and bring the water to a rolling boil.
Lower the heat and steam the cake for about
four-and-one-half hours. Preheat oven to around 250
degrees, and bake for one hour.
From @Sooks Cookbook@ and made famous
in Truman Capotes @A Christmas Memory@.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
I can remember first hearing this story read to me when I was in 5th grade. The reader broke down crying, which even at a young age, struck me how emotionally powerful this story remains. Its my favorite Christmas tradition - every Christmas Eve, when I finally retire, I take my worn copy of Capotes A Christmas Memory, snuggle into bed, and transport to a different time. I have an old video of A Christmas Memory narrated by Capote, so I continue to hear his distinct high-pitched voice speak the story as I read. Capotes words are patiently and precisely picked to paint a beautiful memory of his beloved best friend. Every time I read, I discover something new. My favorite scene - where the lazy Millers wife tries to buy Buddy and Sooks tree, after they spent hours finding it, is summed up nicely by Sook: @Theres never two of anything in this world.@ Its those moments that I love to revisit every Christmas.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Truman Capote wrote a beautiful Christmas story based on some special times he experienced as a seven-year-old. He was living with older relatives including his beloved sixty-something cousin, Miss Sook. She was a little childlike and sheltered from the world. However, Miss Sook knew how to have fun and had a generous heart. He recounts the holiday events of making fruitcakes and homemade gifts, and decorating the Christmas tree with their own artwork. His older cousin put humor, warmth, and love into the special times they shared during the Christmas season. This is a heartwarming gem that will bring a smile to both children and adults.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
When I was in my junior year of high school, my English teacher Mrs. OBrien brought this book in one day. She sat on the edge of her desk, and she held up a well worn copy of it, and told us that each year before Thanksgiving she reads the entire book (there are three novellas included). Then she proceeded to read to us. We were mesmerized. She read that entire period, and we all had tears in our eyes as she read @A Christmas Memory@. The next day, we filed in, she sat on her desk, and she read us the next one. Again, we were all quiet and full of awe. The next day, which was the day before our Thanksgiving holiday, she read the last one.

I was in love with Truman Capote and his writing, and I was shaken to the core-- Id never been exposed to writing this... naked... before. It was bitter but true, and exposed the best and worst of human nature. I think I wrote a report on it, because the day before Christmas break, Mrs. OBrien gave me a hardcover copy of the book, and told me she was so happy that I loved it like she did.

Fast forward (gulp) 20 some years. In riffling through yet another box of books that I have not fully @unpacked@ in our move 6 years ago, I found it. I sat in the basement, on the cold dusty floor, and I began to read it. I cried openly, and I read it all that night. My husband thought I was goofy. I read part of it to him, and he understood. Then I reread it later on before the holidays were in true rush mode. Again, I find this to be one of the most poignant books of literature Ive encountered.

I put the book on a shelf in the living room, so that I can see it and read it again as the holidays approach. And one day I will share it with my girls...

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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