The Grass Harp
The story begins with Collin Fenwick losing his mother, and then his father, and moving into his aunts' (Dolly and Verena) house. Catherine, the servant, also lives in the house and gets along, for the most part, only with Dolly. Dolly is famous for her medicine, which she makes by going out into the woods with Catherine and Collin and randomly picking plants. They then go to an old treehouse, which is propped up in a Chinaberry tree. One day, after Dolly has an argument with Verena (Verena wants to mass-produce Dolly's medicine), Dolly, Collin, and Catherine leave their home and start walking. They go to the treehouse in the Chinaberry tree, and decide to camp out there. Verena, meanwhile, informs the sheriff of her sister's disappearance; the Sheriff organizes a search party, and eventually arrests Catherine. During the course of the novel, others come to live in the treehouse, such as Judge Cool and Riley Henderson. In a climactic event, a confrontation among the search party and the residents of the tree house leads to Riley getting shot in the shoulder. After Judge Cool discusses the situation, everyone agrees that it was a pointless struggle, and old relationships are invigorated once again. Many people leave as friends. The story ends with how a "grass harp, gathering, telling, a harp of voices remembering a story."
The Grass Harp
The New York Times review of the film stated that the actors' performances were "uniformly expert, sharp renderings of distinctive individuals" and that Charles Matthau had "managed to set them in a landscape specifically distant and atmospheric". The Los Angeles Times review called it a beguiling film and one that "celebrates rebirth and renewal but within a tough-minded view of life that never allows it to lapse into a fairy tale". Variety called it a "sensitive screenplay adaptation" and noted the film's "wonderful ensemble cast". Despite generally good reviews, the film did poorly at the box office. With an estimated budget of $9 million, the film grossed only roughly $1.5 million in ticket sales.
There is a cool and crystal ring of finality to his style which compels admiration. Inspired phrases glitter on nearly every page: "dark as the angels of Africa," "the kitchen was warm as a cow's tongue," "he wore bow ties and sharp jazzy suits; his lips were blue and he had gaudy, small, swerving eyes; altogether, he looked like a mean mouse."
This 1971 musical has long been considered one of the lost treasures of the musical theater. Kept alive largely thanks to the extraordinary cast recording featuring an incandescent Barbara Cook, The Grass Harp is an intimate tale of fascinating characters carried on the wings of a ravishing score. The title refers to the wind rustling though fields of tall grass, "a harp of voices telling stories."
As the three companions settle into the huge tree that is to be their home, Dolly hears her grandfather's voice echoing their song in the dry Indian grass. Judge Charlie Cool, long an admirer of Dolly, wanders by, and decides he might be better off taking up residence with them. As twilight falls, the four friends share a bottle of dropsy cure and exchange confidences. Judge Cool observes that Dolly Talbo has always been a free spirit, an acceptor of life. Catherine reveals that Dolly is not the only acceptor of life.
New York: Random House, 1952. First edition. Hardcover. 1951, First Edition (stated first printing). Hardcover, beige cloth with titles and design in blue and green. Near Fine in a Very Good dust jacket. Topstain faded; otherwise a sharp, clean copy. DJ with light fading to the spine and rear panel; 2-inch closed snag on the front panel has been neatly mended with tape on the blank side; original price (2.50) present. DJ now in mylar. Near Fine / Very Good. Item #0084371
The Great Grass Harp is one of the treasures of the Great Ga'Hoole Tree. It was known for its beautiful music when the grass strings are strung through. It was brought to the tree by the renowned singer Cornelia Plonk. No one knew who invented it.
The harp can be played only by the nest-maid snakes. The first harp player was Cornelia's nest-maid snake. A guild was made for the other nest-maids to learn how to play it in strumming through different sections of the strings, making harmony together. 041b061a72