Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career

George Plimpton

Published by Anchor, 1998
ISBN 10: 0385491735 / ISBN 13: 9780385491730
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Synopsis: He was the most social of writers, and at the height of his career, he was the very nexus of the glamorous worlds of the arts, politics and society, a position best exemplified by his still legendary Black and White Ball. Truman truly knew everyone, and now the people who knew him best tell his remarkable story to bestselling author and literary lion, George Plimpton.

Using the oral-biography style that made his Edie (edited with Jean Stein) a bestseller, George Plimpton has blended the voices of Capote's friends, lovers, and colleagues into a captivating and narrative. Here we see the entire span of Capote's life, from his Southern childhood, to his early days in New York; his first literary success with the publication of Other Voices, Other Rooms; his highly active love life; the groundbreaking excitement of In Cold Blood, the first "nonfiction novel"; his years as a jet-setter; and his final days of flagging inspiration, alcoholism, and isolation. All his famous friends and enemies are here: C.Z. Guest, Katharine Graham, Lauren Bacall, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, John Huston, William F. Buckley, Jr., and dozens of others.

Full of wonderful stories, startlingly intimate and altogether fascinating, this is the most entertaining account of Truman Capote's life yet, as only the incomparable George Plimpton could have done it.

Review: Nobody can match George Plimpton as an adroit weaver of interviews into a tight narrative fabric. Plimpton can make even a negligible life into a magic-carpet ride, as in his editing of Jean Stein's perennial bestseller, Edie, about Andy Warhol's victim-starlet Edie Sedgwick.

In Truman Capote, Plimpton has an infinitely more important subject, who worked his way down from the top into the shallow pit of druggy celebrity. His book doesn't knock the definitive biography Capote off the shelf, but it's much more fun to read. Plimpton interviewed more than a hundred people--from Capote's childhood to his peak period, 1966, when his Black and White Ball defined high society and In Cold Blood launched the true crime genre, all the way down to his last, sad days as a bitchy caricature of himself. Joanna Carson complains that Plimpton's book is "gossip," which it gloriously is. But it's also brimming with important literary history, and it helps in the Herculean task of sorting out the truth from Capote's multitudinous, entertaining lies; for instance, In Cold Blood turns out to be not strictly factual. James Dickey, whose similar self-destruction is chronicled in Summer of Deliverance, delivers here a good definition of Capote's true gift to literature: "The scene stirring with rightness and strangeness, the compressed phrase, the exact yet imaginative word, the devastating metaphorical aptness, a feeling of concentrated excess which at the same time gives the effect of being crystalline." --Tim Appelo

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Title: Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, ...
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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