'The only four things that interested me were: reading books, going to the movies, tap-dancing and drawing pictures. Then one day I started writing . . .' Truman Capote began writing at the age of eight, and never looked back. A Capote Reader contains much of the author's published work: his brilliant and prolific oeuvre of fiction, travel sketches, portraits, reportage and essays. It includes all twelve of his celebrated short stories, together with The Grass Harp and Breakfast at Tiffany's. There are vivid sketches of places from Tangiers to Brooklyn, and fascinating insights into the lives of his contemporaries, from Jane Bowles and Cecil Beaton to Marilyn Monroe and Tennessee Williams. Generous space is devoted to reportage including 'The Muses Are Heard', on his trip to Communist Europe in the 1950s with the cast of Porgy and Bess. In all, A Capote Reader demonstrates the chameleon talents of one of America's most versatile and gifted writers.
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Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1925 and was raised in various parts of the south, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. By the age of fourteen he had already started writing short stories, some of which were published. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. Following his spell with the New Yorker, Capote spent two years on a Louisiana farm where he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He lived, at one time or another, in Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies, and travelled in Russia and the Orient. He is the author of many highly praised books, including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949), The Grass Harp (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), In Cold Blood (1965), which immediately became the centre of a storm of controversy on its publication, Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published by Penguin. Truman Capote died in August 1984.From Library Journal:
"I wish that then and there I had moved to the country. But it was too late, for I had already started my journey to the Earth's interior." Like all of Capote's fiction, Answered Prayers draws heavily on his "real life"; but instead of his Southern childhood, he details here in anecdotal form the "atmosphere of luxurious exhaustion" of the lives of the globe- trotting super-rich. The air of unreality that pervades the book is deliberate; the real acts of extreme people are hard for the imagination to accept. Capote's genius was to enter into those extreme lives as a marginal participant and emerge as an eloquent eyewitness; tragically, he did not emerge intact. Having committed the unpardonable crime of telling how the rich get their money and what they do with their bodies, he was punished with a banishment that contributed to his physical decline. The publication of Answered Prayers in book form is Capote's vindication. Though it adds nothing to the chapters published in Esquire 12 years ago, these fragments of what was never intended as a conventional novel are self-sufficient and forceful. A Capote Reader presents almost everything Capote published with the exception of In Cold Blood in one bargain-priced edition. Few volumes since the Portable Faulkner in 1946 have been better designed to revive a great American author. The short novels are widely read, and Music for Chameleons brought Capote a new audiencebut who today reads his early, sly travel sketches, or The Muses Are Heard, an account of Negro performers in the Soviet Union that is timely and entertaining 30 years after it was written? All the above are contained in this Reader. Dunphy, Capote's lifelong companion, egregiously exploits his name with his "memoir." Capote barely appears in this novelistic treatment of a young priest who may or may not have insinuated himself into Dunphy's life with a mission of "saving" Capote from pills and booze. Uninformative as a memoir, as a Catholic "problem novel" it is trite and overwritten. Rob Schmieder, Boston
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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