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1. In Cold Blood
2. A Christmas Memory
3. The Complete Stories of Truman
4. A Christmas Memory (Tale Blazers)
5. Other Voices, Other Rooms
6. Portraits and Observations: The
7. The Grass Harp: Including A Tree
8. Party of the Century: The Fabulous
9. In Cold Blood
10. Capote: A Biography
11. Truman Capote: In Which Various
12. In Cold Blood (Paperback)
13. Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short
14. Conversations with Capote
15. Too Brief a Treat: The Letters
16. Music for Chameleons
17. Retratos (Compactos) (Spanish
19. Breakfast at Tiffany's (Essential
20. Answered Prayers: The Unfinished

1. In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
Hardcover: 343 Pages (2002-03-05)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$11.52
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375507906
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces.There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.

Five years, four months and twenty-nine days later, on April 14, 1965, Richard Eugene Hickock, aged thirty-three, and Perry Edward Smith, aged thirty-six, were hanged from the crime on a gallows in a warehouse in the Kansas State Penitentiary in Lansing, Kansa.

In Cold Blood is the story of the lives and deaths of these six people.It has already been hailed as a masterpiece.Amazon.com Review
In Cold Blood was a groundbreaking work when releasedin 1966.With it, author Truman Capote contributed to a style ofwriting in which the reporter gets so far inside the subject, becomesso familiar, that he projects events and conversations as if he werereally there. The style has probably never been accomplished betterthan in this book. Capote combined painstaking research with anarrative feel to produce one of the most spellbinding stories everput on the page. Two two-time losers living in a lonely house inwestern Kansas are out to make the heist of their life, but whenthings don't go as planned, the robbery turns ugly. From there, thebook is a real-life look into murder, prison, and the criminal mind. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (483)

5-0 out of 5 stars The first "novelized" true crime non-fiction!
Dateline 1959, Holcomb, Kansas: Herb Clutter, a wealthy, well-respected God-fearing Methodist farmer, his wife and two children are brutally murdered in what modern police parlance would term a home invasion. The Clutters, dispatched without any apparent motive, made particularly poignant victims. Mr Clutter, a hard-working, successful farmer, allowed no drinking on his farm. Generous to a fault and yet prudent with his money to an extreme, he paid for everything by cheque. His attractive daughter, Nancy, a lovely young woman well-behaved, obedient and chaste to an extent that would baffle the modern teenage generation, loved to bake and regularly attended 4-H meetings. The son, Kenyon, also a good homebody who respected his father's word as law, loved to putter in their home workshop. The only cloud on their family horizon was Mrs Bonnie Clutter prone to debilitating fits of anxiety and depression.

IN COLD BLOOD, arguably the ground-breaking first book in the true crime genre that might be called "novelized" non-fiction, tells the story of the family, their murder, the murderers, the investigation that led to their capture, the trial and ultimate execution by hanging. Truman Capote's extensive investigation allowed him to reach into the very minds of the murderers and to re-write a story that allows readers to witness how the events leading up to the murder and the actual murder might have taken place in real time BUT from the point of view of the killers themselves, Richard "Dick" Hickock and Perry Edward Smith.

That the killers were twisted sociopaths is apparent throughout the book. Witness the banal, bleakly noir but paradoxical and utterly shocking statement that Smith made regarding Herb Clutter's murder to Capote during one of their interviews, "I didn't want to harm the man. I thought he was a very nice gentleman. Soft spoken. I thought so right up to the moment I cut his throat."

IN COLD BLOOD is an extraordinary compelling work, seminal and pioneering in its nature, that plumbs the depths of a motiveless multiple murder and brings the reaction of the community and a shocked nation to life. Small wonder that there is controversy to this day about the effect that writing this novel might have had on Truman Capote himself. There is little doubt that the effort left him a very changed man.

Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

4-0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for book, 1 star for reader, Frank Brick
I've read Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" many times over the years.It is an undisputed masterpiece.

But the audible book reading of this book by Frank Brick is rather sad.His voice is whiney and pinched--as ifhaving a constant cold. The pacing of his read is plodding and very much uninspired.

What a shame they couldn't get someone with a better/stronger voice to read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Where the Endless Debate Began

The true story of the truly horrific and pointless murder of the Clutter family by Perry Smith and Dick Hickock at Holcomb Kansas in 1959. Capote explores every aspect and perspective of the crime; the victims, their community, the perpetrators,the investigation,trial and justice as stated under the law.
This really is the fabled unput-downable page turner! It is so much more than the telling of a crime;it explores the affect such an act has on a tight knit community;the rumours and fantastic speculations (you begin to see how conspiracy theories develop!)and Capote raises controversial questions; how far is responsibility diminished by mental illness? The damage done by a poor childhood. Is the death penalty actually a deterent or state sponsored murder in the interest of revenge?Capote questions the whole shambles in the legal world that turns the death penalty into a kind of lottery where any sense or justice is sidelined.
This outraged many sections of society who just saw the brutality of the murders, but they forget Capote also says a society without laws to civilize it denies what man is. Without laws to pose maximum penalties on the likes of Hickock and Smith.what cruelty cannot be justified?
The debate still rages! This is a book that will never stop being in print,read and discussed. A true-in every sense of the over used term-classic.

5-0 out of 5 stars where ereading really goes well.
A very personal (though not original) view on this book. This is a breathtaking work: in its accurate research; in it style. Most of all it is one of those creations in which the author reveals some quintessential aspect of humanity. This is visible both in the creation of the characters - Perry Smith mostly. Not just a matter of the book design but also of the relationship of Capote with the murderer (Capote is reported to have fallen in love with P. Smith).
Capote is also an example of incredible determination and persistence which I admire immensely, in spite of his rather irritating persona. His social raise and fall are tragic witnesses to his clarividence. All the contradictions of humanity in one book and the story of that book.
It also a very good electronic read: the pagination works well on kindle, kindle size and font change really are a convenience.

4-0 out of 5 stars What a difference 40 or 50 years can make...
I read the print version of this book when it first appeared back in the 60s (I believe that is the right time frame), and was hypnotized by it.I hadn't read anything quite like it before.Now, many years later, I have re-read it, and while it is still a compelling read, I don't believe it would hold up nearly as well if released today, although I'm sure it would still be a fairly decent seller.I actually prefer Capote's collection of short stories (something about Chameleons), and feel that writing was superior to that in In Cold Blood.But, it's still a darn good story - especially considering that it's true.Still worth a read. ... Read more

2. A Christmas Memory
by Truman Capote
Hardcover: 48 Pages (2006-10-10)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375837892
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection of Truman Capote's rural Alabama boyhood has become a modern-day classic. We are proud to be reprinting this warm and delicately illustrated edition of A Christmas Memory--"a tiny gem of a holiday story" (School Library Journal, starred review). Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: "It's fruitcake weather!" Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship between two innocent souls--one young and one old--and the memories they share of beloved holiday rituals.Amazon.com Review
A Christmas Memory is the classic memoir of TrumanCapote's childhood in rural Alabama. Until he was ten years old,Capote lived with distant relatives. This book is an autobiographicalstory of those years and his frank and fond memories of one of hiscousins, Miss Sook Faulk. The text is illustrated with full colorillustrations that add greatly to the story without distracting fromCapote's poignant prose. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (87)

5-0 out of 5 stars more than a Christmas memory-a tribute to selfless love-timeless
Capote's " A Christmas Memory" forever capturesthe pain of loneliness and of being unwanted-pain made bearable by an enduring, unconditional love-heartwrenching! A CLASSIC!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
I bought A Christmas Memory for a Christmas gift and was delighted with it when I previewed it.
It's a wonderful story of a boy and his Aunt and how together they survive in a somewhat hostile invironment. The Aunt is old and is living with relatives who really just put up with her.She befriends her nephew who is an orphan boy in almost the same situation. The two together with very limited resources do a lot of wonderful adventures together.
For Christmas every year the two make up about 20 or so fruitcakes and send them to amazing people including the president of the united states.The aunt keeps a scrap book of all the thank you's she receives and especially covets the yearly thank you from the white house.
It's a wonderful book and I recommend it highly.
This Review by Virginia Degner, author of Without Consent a Mystery novel to be released in the fall of 2010.

5-0 out of 5 stars Dan in Mass.
I searched all year for a DVD of A Christmas Memory that was of good quality; unfortunately, none seem to exist at the moment. I decided to give my daughter the book, instead. As great as the original broadcast was (I remember it from my childhood), the book as a Christmas gift was so much better. My only regret was that the illustrated treatment of this book, makes it appear to be a book for a very young child. The wonderful, colorful prose of Truman Capote could have stood on their own, without the illustrations. Nonetheless, a terrific book to give as either a Thanksgiving or Christmas present.

5-0 out of 5 stars Book Nitty-Gritty
There is often confusion about the publication history of Capote's beloved "A Christmas Memory."

It was first published in the magazine Mademoiselle in 1956. Since then it has been bundled and re-printed in several collections, including The Selected Writings of Truman Capote.

The first stand-alone edition (a 1st Thus) didn't occur until Random House released it in hardback in a slipcase in 1966! (Some confused cataloguers claim that this is a 1956 1st edition; it isn't -- the 1956 copyright appears but the book was released in 1966 w/ LOC number 66-21461.

The fact that the publisher published this story in a rather classy binding many years after it first was released is a testament to the growing cult status of Capote in general and the reputation of this piece of prose in particular.

Probably the most satisfying aspect of the first stand-alone edition is the slipcase's inclusion of the photo of young Truman with his best friend Sook. And, just as Capote's prose recalls it, her face does have a weathered dignity reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln.

Best two closing sentences ever: "That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven."

5-0 out of 5 stars Book Nitty-Gritty
There is often confusion about the publication history of Capote's beloved "A Christmas Memory."

It was first published in the magazine Mademoiselle in 1956. Since then it has been bundled and re-printed in several collections, including The Selected Writings of Truman Capote.

The first stand-alone edition (a 1st Thus) didn't occur until Random House released it in hardback in a slipcase in 1966! (Some confused cataloguers claim that this is a 1956 1st edition; it isn't -- the 1956 copyright appears but the book was released in 1966 w/ LOC number 66-21461.

The fact that the publisher published this story in a rather classy binding many years after it first was released is a testament to the growing cult status of Capote in general and the reputation of this piece of prose in particular.

Probably the most satisfying aspect of the first stand-alone edition is the slipcase's inclusion of the photo of young Truman with his best friend Sook. And, just as Capote's prose recalls it, her face does have a weathered dignity reminiscent of Abraham Lincoln.

Best two closing sentences ever: "That is why, walking across a school campus on this particular December morning, I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven." ... Read more

3. The Complete Stories of Truman Capote
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 320 Pages (2005-09-13)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140009691X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A landmark collection that brings together Truman Capote’s life’s work in the form he called his “great love,” The Complete Stories confirms Capote’s status as a master of the the short story. This first-ever compendium features a never-before-published 1950 story, “The Bargain,” as well as an introduction by Reynolds Price. Ranging from the gothic South to the chic East Coast, from rural children to aging urban sophisticates, all the unforgettable places and people of Capote’s oeuvre are here, in stories as elegant as they are heartfelt, as haunting as they are compassionate. Reading them reminds us of the miraculous gifts of a beloved American original. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Whole Capote
Here's the crazy thing.
I don't even really like short stories.
It's not my...... genre.
I like novels.
I prefer the way one can wade through a good novel for days at a time over a same time period spent hopping through the truncated quick blasts of a collection of short stories.
But.... I must admit.
I really liked these ones.
The Complete Stories of Truman Capote.
These twenty stories are arranged chronologically [as to the time of their original publication] ranging from the years 1943 to 1982. You can see a DEFINITE progression in quality, from first to last. Understandable, since the author was 18 or 19 years old when he wrote the first one, and 58 with the last.
But really, they just get better and better as you go.
It's a terrific book.
Here's how I would [potentially blasphemously] put it.
If they came out with The Completer Stories of Flannery O'Connor, The Completer Stories of Alice Munro, and The Completer Stories of Truman Capote, I would be most interested in getting my hands on the Capote volume!
Thus far in my short-story reading, the only book I would prefer even above a Capote would be entitled The [Other] Nine Stories of J.D. Salinger.
Happy reading y'all!

5-0 out of 5 stars A fantastic collection of short stories
These stories are some of the best short stories I've ever read. I had to read them to write a school term paper, but I have to say, these stories even managed to make that experience somewhat enjoyable! This collection is a must have for fans of psychological thrillers and the classic southern Gothic style novels.

You'll enjoy reading most of these stories.

I read the book before I bought it, then just had to get my own copy.

MIRIAM is a classic ghost story. Excellent.

The two Christmas stories and the Thanksgiving story are equally as good.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag
While the stories are uneven in quality, when Capote is good, he's very, very good, and when he is bad, he's not bad.

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, but not my cup of tea
Maybe I just have issues with the genre. Short stories can be unsatifying when they are left open ended. I am sure this is meant to leave us with a "what happened next?" feeling and that's supposed to be intriguing, but I just find it frustrating. But there is no denying that Capote's writing is vivid, beautiful and engrossing. He creates poetry from the mundane and perfectly captures the pathos and subtleties of the human condition. ... Read more

4. A Christmas Memory (Tale Blazers)
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 36 Pages (1990-09)
list price: US$3.35 -- used & new: US$0.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0895986639
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars A quick but interesting read
The only faultwith this little book is just that.It's so short and suddenly...it's over.Fun to read but somewhat of a disappointment considering the other works of the author ... Read more

5. Other Voices, Other Rooms
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 240 Pages (1994-02-01)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679745645
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Published when Truman Capote was only twenty-three years old, Other Voices, Other Rooms is a literary touchstone of the mid-twentieth century. In this semiautobiographical coming-of-age novel, thirteen-year-old Joel Knox, after losing his mother, is sent from New Orleans to live with the father who abandoned him at birth. But when Joel arrives at Skully’s Landing, the decaying mansion in rural Alabama, his father is nowhere to be found. Instead, Joel meets his morose stepmother, Amy, eccentric cousin Randolph, and a defiant little girl named Idabel, who soon offers Joel the love and approval he seeks.

Fueled by a world-weariness that belied Capote’s tender age, this novel tempers its themes of waylaid hopes and lost innocence with an appreciation for small pleasures and the colorful language of its time and place.

This new edition, featuring an enlightening Introduction by John Berendt, offers readers a fresh look at Capote’s emerging brilliance as a writer of protean power and effortless grace.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVE This Novel---Read it Every Summer...
"Other Voices, Other Rooms"
by Truman Capote

Book Review by Jay Gilbertson

This is maybe the eighth, could be the ninth time I've read this amazing little novel and I know for certain I'll read it again one day. Billed as Capote's first, and in my opinion his best work, Other Voices, Other Rooms is truly an amazing piece of literature and still haunts me today.

The author took a classic coming-of-age theme and carefully, subtly and with fascinatingly flawed characters--ripped it to smithereens! The story centers around two powerful topics that Capote struggled with his entire life: the search for a father-figure and the struggle with sexual orientation. What carries this tale is Capote's brilliant prose and impeccable descriptions of place. He is one of the more rare authors that compel the reader to constantly re-read certain passages not because they're confusing but due to the incredible picture the author presents of thirteen-year-old, Joel Knox, on the brink of manhood.

Give this a try:
"...He lay there on a bed of cold pebbles, the cool water washing, rippling over him; he wished he were a leaf, like the current-carried leaves riding past: leaf-boy, he would float lightly away, float and fade into a river, an ocean, the world's great flood."

With the death of Joel's mother early on in the story, he is sent off to live with his estranged father in a dilapidated old hotel that, like its occupants, is further sinking into disrepair. From the psychotic step-mother, Miss Amy, to her eccentric cousin, Randolph, to the crusty-cook, Zoo, there isn't a stereotype left to imagine. Throw in Idabel and Florabel, twins as different as they are alike, and you've got a brew of misfits that will surround you with color and sparkle contrasted with loneliness and despair at every turn. One jarring element that any modern reader will find uncomfortable to read is Capote's use of the `N' word. Though common back when this work was first published, it seems appropriate within the story and adds yet another layer to this complex cast.

Another of the many fascinating characters is not a person, but an old resort called Cloud Hotel. It too is a falling apart place with a history that will burn into your imagination and leave you wanting to know more. Though I've read everything Capote ever wrote, it's this novel I return to because like some poetry, each reading I find some new gem to marvel and wonder about.

Like this clever title-weave-in:
"...But Little Sunshine stayed on: it was his rightful home, he said, for if he went away, as he had once upon a time, other voices, other rooms, voices lost and clouded, strummed his dreams..."

Oh and there's also a midget and a woman with a huge wart on her chin and a one-armed barber and a cat named Toby. And of course, there's a woman in the window and you won't believe who that turns out to be--or perhaps you will.

For more information about the author visit:

2-0 out of 5 stars Overhyped
Thankfully, this is a short book. While the descriptions are truly literary, the story is rambling, uneven, and poorly told.It is dripping with symbolism, and in my opinion it overpowers the basis of literature:The story.The only comparison I have for it is going to a gourmet chef for a meal, and out of the perfect cut of meat, he drowns it in sauce, rendering a primecut usless. Very disappointing to say the least.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great language and imagery
Although it starts off a little on the slow side, it picks steam rapidly and spirals into ever more surreal and tragic territory. To be frank, I just finished it and am still trying to sort all of it out (the significance of the title, a possible mental breakdown in the main character's perspective, potential pederasty). A surprising amount of references to gender identity and homosexuality also are found throughout the text as well. However, the two best things about this novel are its well-drawn, often bizarre characters and its beautifully descriptive language. After putting down the book, even though I felt emotionally drained, I simply basked in the afterglow of the experience for a while. Strongly recommended.

4-0 out of 5 stars I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!
I like reading Truman Capote's work because I absolutely love his delightful writing style, and this book was true to form. Every sentence is charged with a fanciful Capote-style description that's right on the money. For instance, on the first page Truman writes, "...for these washboard roads will loosen up even brand new cars pretty fast..." I loved that description. If you've ever driven on a hard, rutty, dry, dirt road and felt your whole car rattling like it was literally going to fall apart, you`d have to admire Truman Capote's laser-like attention to detail and his gift to transform his perceptions into written words. Beautiful. And that's only the first page. Later on he writes, "She had long ape-like arms that were covered with dark fuzz..." It just gets better and better.

In Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote's first novel, we share the adventures of a young boy who is traveling to an ominous sounding place called Skully's Landing to meet up with his natural father. Along the way, he encounters a gaggle of bigger than life characters. Among them are a dumb-looking girl named Louise, a very little man called Jesus Fever and a freakish lady who looks like a human giraffe. It's outlandish and absolutely great stuff. How does this weird adventure affect the young lad? You have to read the book to find that answer.

I loved this short novel and I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Double Take
In reading this book, I often found myself re-reading passages.I did this not because of poor writing, but because I wanted to make sure I was interpreting the bizarre themes of Capote correctly.It is easy to understand why "Other Voices, Other Rooms" caused such a stir in its time.

In a semi-autobiographical work of fiction, Capote blurs the lines of reality in this novel.The central character Joel Harrison Knox is sent to live with his father after his mother passes away.Yet his father is a mystery as the people in town do not speak of him and Joel is not allowed to see him.Instead, interactions are made with an interesting cast of characters based in the south.His cold step mother seems only unique in her apparent obsession with killing birds.The suggestions about Randolph, though vague, are amusing yet shocking when one reads between the lines.Idabel, a paradox of a peer, challenges Joel's character and logic at times.These three characters are the devices Capote uses to demonstrate Joel's steps toward maturity or manhood.

More than Capote's other "finished" works, this novels comes off as being raw.While the writing itself demonstrates significant talent, it is the shock value that initially made this book noteworthy.The plot is erratic. ... Read more

6. Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote (Modern Library Paperbacks)
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 528 Pages (2008-11-11)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$8.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812978919
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Perhaps no twentieth-century writer was so observant and graceful a chronicler of his times as Truman Capote. Portraits and Observations is the first volume devoted solely to all the essays ever published by this most beloved of writers. Included are such masterpieces of narrative nonfiction as “The Muses Are Heard” and the short nonfiction novel “Handcarved Coffins,” as well as many long-out-of-print essays, including portraits of Mae West, Humphrey Bogart, and Marilyn Monroe. From his travel sketches of Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Hollywood, written when he was twenty-two, to the author’s last written words, composed the day before his death in 1984, the recently discovered “Remembering Willa Cather,” Portraits and Observations puts on display the full spectrum of Truman Capote’s brilliance. Certainly Capote was, as Somerset Maugham famously called him, “a stylist of the first quality.” But as the pieces gathered here remind us, he was also an artist of remarkable substance.

Praise for Portraits and Observations


“A must-have treasure for Capote fans . . . These are delicious, dramatic, and tender nonfiction portraits and tales.”
–NPR’s Morning Edition

“A wonderful volume . . . Nearly every page can be read with real pleasure. . . . No matter what his subject, [Capote’s] canny, careful art gives it warm and breathing life”  
The Washington Post Book World

“Every piece is a treasure. . . . Pages and pages of remarkably evocative, careful and well-observed prose [delineate,] in a measured and elegant manner, one of the most remarkable American literary lives of the twentieth century.”
–Jane Smiley, Los Angeles Times Book Review ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
If you have not read Truman Capote, recommend this book as an excellent read. What a gifted writer he was. Fast delivery.

5-0 out of 5 stars Observations worth reading again and again.
This was the same book that I checked out from my local library prior to ordering from Amazon.
The contents are typical Capote-clever masterpieces in essay form that weave their spell, written over a span of several decades.
As Mr. Capote related to me in 1978, his was a genuine love for the written word.He used to spend long periods of time as a child practicing sentence construction and paragraph formation.
An excellent read all the way around.

Steve Harris

5-0 out of 5 stars An Artist's Eye
Capote is known for his novel-like depiction in the true account of "In Cold Blood" This collection of non fiction essays shows that he is a master of observation in all his work even prior to that book. He sees things with an artist's eye that makes his writing read like a suspense story.

3-0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it but it did not quite meet my expectations
I was very excited to buy this book and begin reading it during the holidays.I skipped around in it rather than reading from start to finish.One of the best items in it isn't actually an essay at all - its a murder mystery story that is captivating, but is fictional ("Handcarved Coffins.") (Midway through reading it I searched via Google for info on the murders and quickly found it was not an actual non-fiction account.)I enjoyed the essay about the history of the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood where Capote lived for several years.An essay about a theatre group going to the USSR to perform Porgy and Bess was interesting and humorous.

The essay on Marlon Brando, "The Duke in His Doman" seemed like a waste of pages.The gist of it is that when Capote met with Brando in Japan during the filming of Sayonara, Brando was self-absorbed and arrogantly believed himself to be a great philospher.I think that essay could have been left out.

There are a number of very short essays that are probably better described as "vignettes."I found these less satisfying - Capote seems better at capturing a place or person with more words, with the exception of the Brando essay.

This book might have been better if it had been a combination of essays and letters and some of the weaker essays had been left out, or supplemented by relevant letters.

5-0 out of 5 stars Capote one of Best Writers Ever & This collection of essays prove it!
Capote was one of the best writers ever even when his lifestyle was in the pits.This collection of essays prove it. ... Read more

7. The Grass Harp: Including A Tree of Night and Other Stories
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 216 Pages (1993-09-28)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$7.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679745572
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Set on the outskirts of a small Southern town, The Grass Harp tells the story of three endearing misfits--an orphaned boy and two whimsical old ladies--who one day take up residence in a tree house. AS they pass sweet yet hazardous hours in a china tree, The Grass Harp manages to convey all the pleasures and responsibilities of freedom. But most of all it teaches us about the sacredness of love, "that love is a chain of love, as nature is a chain of life."

This volume also includes Capote's A Tree of Night and Other Stories, which the Washington Post called "unobstrusively beautiful...a superlative book." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning. Touching. Brilliant.
Though I'd heard of this book for years, I never picked it up.I could kick myself for not reading it sooner.What a beautifully written jewel. The prose is as close to perfect as I've ever read, the characters are nothing short of wonderful, and the voice -- THE VOICE! If you haven't read this treasure, please don't wait a moment longer. I can't recommend it highly enough.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Capote Collection
Truman Capote's gift for the written word brings marvel even in comparison to great literary geniuses.While "The Grass Harp" may not be the best exhibition of his talent, it is a brush stroke in his overall masterwork.

The centerpeice of this particular book is "The Grass Harp", an odd book which brings to mind Steinbeck's Cannery Row.As an odd tale about simple people in a small town, the main characters are merely looking for a place to lay their head at the end of the day.Even if living in a tree is the best possible shelter for a time, it is the ideal retreat from the forces that trouble them.The short stories that follow also have a few gems.I recommend a tale of disapproving in-laws called "My Side of the Matter", the mysterious "Miriam", and the tale of an idiot savant in "Jug of Silver".With some of the other short stories in the collection, I am not as sure of where Capote was going as clearly.Perhaps rereading the others at a later date will draw greater appreciation from me.

Capote's ability to choose and arrange words alone makes reading his work a real treat.If only modern writers had half of his talent and insight.Even though this is not his best collection, it is a treasure to fans and admirers.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Word Portrait
This early Novella by Truman Capote clearly demonstrates his ability to put together a word portrait.As an example: "... I would hear the tantalizing tremor of their voices flowing like sapsyrup through the old wood."

The characters are richly portrayed in this gem of Southern fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great and Touching Novel
Capote found his full voice in this, his second novel.It is a fantasy based on characters from his own life, including himself, his aunt Sook Faulk, to whom the book is dedicated "in memory of affections deep and true", another aunt, and their servant.

Capote's prose is beautiful and lucid as it carries the reader through the book at a swift pace, and this novel achieves the rare combination of ease of reading with depth of thought and emotion.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Miracle of Writing: Capote's Genius at Full Throttle
[I wrote this review in 1999 as "A Reader." I hope more people read it and read this book.]
For years I've known about this work but never read it until now. I've been fishing about in contemporary fiction, looking for something entertaining, enlightening, and superbly well written, but my search ended entirely when I finally read this novel, written in 1951. Set in the South, in the countryside, this story brilliantly draws you into its magical surroundings. Its three main characters, Dolly, Collin, and Catherine, are real presences that emerge from the lush southern environs as complex, blooming beings whose lives take time to develop and understand. There is nothing slick about this writing; it's just classically elegant and clear. The story is packed with interesting people and proceeds as if inspired by Twain. It is entertaining, poetic, and meaningful all at once. I found myself rereading the opening pages, picturing the scene, and feeling how brilliant the writing was in its elegiac and inspired imagery. The story is simple: a young boy, orphaned, lives with his two eccentric aunts in a small town in the South. One aunt is mean-spirited and selfish, and the other is sweet, other-worldly, and gentle. When the mean aunt tries to exploit the sweet one by mass producing a folk medicine remedy the sweet aunt learned about from a traveling gypsy woman, the sweet aunt runs away from home with the orphan boy and her best friend, a strange Indian woman. They don't run too far, however, just to a tree house in a nearby China tree. From that point on, everyone learns something about themselves. This southern world is a generous place to Truman Capote, and it has mercies to give and lessons to be learned. In fact, it's something of a magical world, almost a precursor of the magical realism of Marquez and others. But as the characters learn about themselves, so we the readers learn too, about what love is, about change, and about what we accept in life. For Capote to have written this book at the age of 26 is truly a miracle. This book alone puts him in league with the literary giants. I highly recommend "The Grass Harp" to anyone looking for that one great book to read and treasure.

... Read more

8. Party of the Century: The Fabulous Story of Truman Capote and His Black and White Ball
by Deborah Davis
Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-02-02)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$8.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 047009821X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In 1966, everyone who was anyone wanted an invitation to Truman Capote's "Black and White Dance" in New York, and guests included Frank Sinatra, Norman Mailer, C. Z. Guest, Kennedys, Rockefellers, and more. Lavishly illustrated with photographs and drawings of the guests, this portrait of revelry at the height of the swirling, swinging sixties is a must for anyone interested in American popular culture and the lifestyles of the rich, famous, and talented. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

2-0 out of 5 stars A Fun Summer Read
If you are looking for a book to enjoy on a lazy summer afternoon, this book is for you. "Party of The Century" tells the story of the black and white ball writer Truman Capote threw on Novemebr 28, 1966 at the Plaza Hotel in New York. He said the ball was held in honor of the owner of the New York Post Katharine Graham. But the ball was really meant to cap what had been the best year in the life of Truman Capote. His "nonfiction novel" "In Cold Blood" was published that year, making him the most famous writer in the world (The New York Times called the book "the hottest property since the invention of the wheel")and Truman loved it all. He wanted to cap off this banner year with a grand ball that would be greater than any of the other society balls.
In "Party of the Century" Deborah Davis tells the story behind the ball and the man who made it possible. Tickets to the ball were the most sought after item in New York. People begged and tried bribes when they found out that they were not among the 500 of Truman's close friends who got an invitation. It was all a far cry from the writer's early childhood in sleepy Monroeville Alabama where his mother, Nina, sent him to live with relatives after his parents divorced. The plans for the ball were followed by newspapers all over the country and TV crews stood outside in the cold and rain in front of the hotel to cover the event. It was Truman Capote's greatest moment, but it was also the begining of the end for Capote. He began a downhill slide into drugs and alcohol that ended with his death in 1984.
"Party of The Century" is a good book to read on a summer afternoon while drinking a glass of iced tea. Davis does not add anything new to the story behind the ball, but pulls together information from different sources into a fun read about the life of the In Crowd in the 1960's. She also includes the guest list from the party and pictures of Capote and other guests at the ball. But this book is inreal need of a good editing job. Sentences are repeated and periods are missing. One reviewer said that she thought that this was a coffee table book. Truman's Black and White Ball would be an excellent subject for just such a book. Hopefully someone will one day take on such a project. Still, if you are looking for something fun and easy to read this summer, this is it.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's Like Being a Guest at the Party!
This was a great book if you want to get a feel for the facet of the '60s that was the precursor to today's celebrity culture.It did not overdo any one topic or focus on a single person ad nauseam, instead it told an engaging story of an author, his great big party, those who attended; those who didn't and ended with a dignified narrative about his lonely, self inflicted fall from grace.

4-0 out of 5 stars Regarding Truman Capote's "Party of the Century"
This book is filled with loads of information about Truman Capote and his B&W Ball. I truly enjoyed the information given. As another reviewer stated, there may have been some minor errors in this book,(just a very few), such as Kitty Carlisle's husband's actual profession. However, to me, those minor errors did not take away from the other exciting bits of info scattered throughout.

In my opinion, I thought that this book was well written because whenever the author would mention a certain person or place, the author would also give some background on the individual or place. I am not old enough to have know all the players introduced in this book, so for me, even the information scattered throughout was juicy enough. I could not put this book down!

There is plenty of "gossip" in this book, and even if most of the characters in this book have long passed away, I still felt a sense of having been there for a few minutes.

The only reason I've given this book 4 stars and not five is because , as others have stated, I wish there had been more photos. I'm not sure if many of the photos were possibly difficult for the author to find or not, but either way, I wish I could have seen more photos of the celebrities. It was frustrating to get a play-by-play by the author, but no photos to go along with the wonderful descriptions. Since many of the celebrities' outfits were recreated by sketch artists and also printed in Esquire and Vogue and Harper's, it would have been nice to , at the minimum, have seen those sketches in this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars Delightful History
I, too, noticed several editor misses -- such as the Moss Hart title and Richard "Rogers" (21st Century editors don't have any depth anyway) but it was an interesting read because I wasn't around when the ball happened which makes for a good "history" (if you will) book.It's about 260 pages and the Ball doesn't happen until about page 200.It's a fun peek at certain lifestyles during the 1960s (probably the most action packed decade of the 20th Century.)

4-0 out of 5 stars An entertaining social history
An enjoyable insight into the world of New York socialites and an unusual character who rose from small town anonymity to become a key power-broker in that world.The book also traces the personal traits which lead to his downfall.There is a great mix of colorful imagery of the lavish lifestyles and ultimate party, along with interesting social commentary.Truman's eccentricities are revealed in a way which doesn't allow him to become a caricature. A fun weekend read. ... Read more

9. In Cold Blood
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 352 Pages (2000-02-03)
list price: US$18.60 -- used & new: US$7.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0141182571
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Controversial and compelling, "In Cold Blood" reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote's comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human. The book that made Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars good condiditon
this book came is pretty good condition
shipping was decent.
it came exactly as described in context.

2-0 out of 5 stars How did this become a classic?
Written well, but just not very interesting.I went out of my way to write this up (never did this before).Scott Brick did an fine job on the audio version of this, but it just isn't very good text..... I expected to be entertained, instead I fought my way to the end.

3-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Classic Fades with Age
Capote's 1965 book about the murder of a family in America's mid-west relates with great precision all of the details of the case as it happened in the late 1950s. What must have been shocking to 60s readers pales a bit in a modern context where far worse crimes have been exposed for public consumption which dates the book- unfortunately. Capote handles the characters well and tells the story competently enough but the book's sensationalistic aspect having deserted it leaves the reader to pick up too many of the flaws in the writing.
A good read and a classic for fans of old crime writing but no longer has the shock value that it had in 1965.

1-0 out of 5 stars Never showed up.
My book never came. And I needed it for school. I contacted the people who were supposed to send it and nothing ever happened. Money wasted.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite book
This is honestly one of my favorite books.I grew up in the Mid-West, and the way Capote writes about Kansas is so realistic.I've recommended this book to many people throughout my life.An absolute classic. ... Read more

10. Capote: A Biography
by Gerald Clarke
Paperback: 656 Pages (2010-09-21)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$8.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1439187509
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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An American original, Truman Capote was one of the best writers of his generation, a superb and almost matchless stylist. His short stories made him a literary celebrity while still in his teens, and for the next thirty years he was a comet of genius, fame, and finally self-destruction. His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, published in 1948, was followed ten years later by Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which introduced to the world one of American literature’s most endearing heroines, the irrepressible Holly Golightly. In the 1960s came the phenomenal success of In Cold Blood, a true-crime story whose novelistic techniques have influenced non-fiction writers ever since.  A much-sought-after dinner guest among the rich and famous, Capote reciprocated in 1966 with a party that made headlines, his black-and-white ball at Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel. The trauma of researching and writing In Cold Blood had shaken him, however, and even as he reached the heights, Capote was beginning a losing battle with drugs and alcohol. In 1975 he published a chapter from an uncompleted novel, Answered Prayers, in Esquire magazine. The unflattering, thinly disguised portraits of some of his rich friends provoked a furious reaction, and the comet that had risen so swiftly fell even faster. Capote died in 1984, just short of his sixtieth birthday. Capote’s is an astonishing story, and Gerald Clarke’s biography, first published in 1988, tells it in all its many dimensions. Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with Capote himself, as well as interviews with nearly everyone else who knew him, it is now recognized as a masterpiece of literary art. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (30)

4-0 out of 5 stars Sad but Fascinating
In this very long and very detailed biography, the author tells all about Truman Capote, a figure who himself was infamous for telling all. A gifted writer of stories, novels, nonfiction, and screenplays, deeply troubled by his terrible upbringing, Capote's undoing was writing thinly-disguised exposes of the society people he befriended during his rise to fame.

The author does a fine job of showing how Capote's early years shaped both his creativity and vivid thinking and his emotional unraveling. He was abandoned by both parents and raised by elderly relatives in Alabama, sent off for a disastrous year in a military school, and then, mercifully, sent to New York when his socially ambitious mother managed to marry a wealthy husband. He was repeatedly abandoned by his parents and valued primarily as a weapon for his mother and father as they fought for control and financial support. Surprisingly, Joe Capote turned out to be a decent man and stepfather who supported Truman financially and emotionally. (That is, until he, too, ran out of money in his later years and came pleading after Truman's wealth.)

Truman struggled with writer's block, and spent much of his time and energy culling favor from the rich and famous women who came his way: Babe Paley, Lee Radziwill, Gloria Vanderbilt. He was socially irresistible: funny and clever, intimate, avid for love. He craved the company and globetrotting lifestyle of the rich and beautiful, and basked in it for many years after the success of In Cold Blood. Clarke shows how Capote's wealth, fame, and great connections vindicated him after his childhood rejection, and also how he developed a propensity for revenge against the rivals and enemies he made in his new glamorous world.

The author does not judge Capote's need to become a plaything of the rich, and details Capote's own financial successes along with the occasional expensive disasters. Capote was a person of excess, a hedonist, but a sympathetic character. Even when many of his high-profile friends abandoned him in the wake of his thinly-disguised tattling in Esquire and other popular magazines, he kept on writing and even became newly prolific in his last, vulnerable years.

It's widely known that Capote spent his last years addicted to pills and alcohol; and the picture of his remaining friends rescuing him time after time, checking him in and out of rehabilitation, is a sad one. But his tragicomic spirit prevailed up to the end, and we are given to believe that he was ready to end his life at 51.

The author knew Capote during the last nine years of his life, interviewing him and hundreds of his friends and associates. It is a chronicle that's oddly parallel to Capote's own experience writing In Cold Blood. Capote started writing about the famous murder of the Clutter family, became closely acquainted not only with the Kansas community but with the two killers as they awaited their fate on Death Row, and ended up on a long, anguished death watch, unable to finish the long-awaited book until the killers' fate was complete. In a similar way, Clarke becomes closely acquainted with Capote and his travails over the final years of his life, and finds that he needs to see how the story ends, and does not complete the book until after Capote's death in a bedroom in the home of Joanne Carson.

Clarke is himself a good writer and knows how to describe the joys and anguish a writer goes through; what constitutes good and bad writing; and the creative process itself. It's a long but engaging book, a great read for anyone interested in Truman Capote.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny, Intriguing, and Exhaustive
Clarke took 13 years to write this 547 page biography, and it shows. Often funny, sometimes shocking, always interesting, this book gave me such insight into Capote's writing. Because much of it is based on actual conversations with Capote, I really got a sense of his voice and his personality. The only thing that slowed it down for me was the non-stop name dropping. But, that's who he was, and there was no getting around it. It's absolutely necessary to the book. Also, I found the prose to be a little heavy handed in the beginning, maybe trying to emulate Capote's writing style. However, as I got into it, Clarke either eased up or I just stopped noticing. Now and then his metaphoric language was a bit over the top, but over all the writing was excellent.

Capote by Gerald Clarke, is probably one of the more enjoyable biographies of a contemporary individual I have read over the past several dozen years or so.I have read several other "biographies" of this remarkable individual and am in the process of reading others, but this by far is the best of the lot so far.

Gerald Clarke spent quite a number of years on this work and much of it is based on interviews, one on one interview, with Capote himself and of course a plethora of interviews with individuals who knew Capote personally.The author has taken the time to even verify many of the statements Capote made during these sessions and all that the author has written is well footnoted and verifiable...as far as such things can be verified.The author covers the full gambit of the life of a man who can arguably be classified as one of the major literary figures of our generation.Clarke has pulled no punches and even though it is quite apparent that he was a friend and admired his subject, he, the author has been quite brutal when brutality was necessary.

I must disagree with several interviewers here as to the statement that Capote's homosexuality is only lightly addressed in this work.Far from it!It is a central part and a keystone to not only the writing of this biography, but to that of Capote himself.Like Hemingway, it would be impossible in this case to separate the writer from the man or the man from the writer.Capote was indeed a homosexual and this fact is deeply ingrained in most, if not all, of his writing. But of curse this is just one aspect of the fascinating man addressed in this work. To not address his sexual preference would be to ignore a major facet in the man's personality and his writing.

Capote's early and tumultuous child hood, his relationship with his mother, father, friends and other family members are all examined and discussed at length.His rise to literary stardom with very little formal education is a story within itself.The author's handling of Truman's dynamic personality, fanatical drive, the demons that haunted him throughout his life, and those individuals who influenced him are a work of biographical art.Even though this is a rather large work, the author's easy style makes if a very enjoyable work and once the book is started, it is quite difficult to put down.

In addition to his subjects story, Clarke has given us a very rare look into the lives and life style of the very rich, the very powerful and very eliteof those times; a glimpse that is indeed rare.He takes us into a world that is completely alien to the vast majority people and while in some ways it is rather sickening, it is never the less fascinating.

Now readers take note; as other reviewers have pointed out, if you are reading this work and expecting to find the same story that is told in a recent movie, you will be disappointed.The movie, which by the way I enjoyed, covers only one aspect of Capote's life...that period in which he was researching and writing "In Cold Blood."This movie most definitely focused on Capote's "dark side" and fails to portray his genius as a writer and indeed, as the very likable, vivacious individual of his youth.No, the movie portrays him during the beginning of his decent into drugs, alcohol and probably mental illness.While the movie is good, it certainly does not give us a look at the author has a whole and in many ways gives us a rather unjust and myopic look into his life.

The only problem I had with this entire work was that I personally have a very difficult time identifying with the New York social scene and the author drops names here and there of what were are apparently very important people whom I have no clue as to who they are and indeed, never heard of many of them.That is just me though and I was able to get around this simply by taking the word of the author that these were in someway important and significant people.My lack of sophistication in these areas could certainly not be held against the work as a whole.

In so very many ways this is truly a tragic tale of an extremely talented writer, his rise and down fall.Despite his many rather annoying quirks, i.e. his insatiable lust for gossip as an example, you cannot help being sympathetic, in particular when you learn of his childhood.In many ways Capote was not a very nice man, but on the other hand he, especially in his youth had many admirable qualities.The author has in his own way stressed this and we actually get a good picture of an extremely complex individual and the biography as a whole gives wonderful insight to both Capote the man and the work of Capote the author.

If you enjoy biographies of contemporary individuals and/or literary figures, then this book is bound to please and I do highly recommend it.Despite its size it is a rather quick read and well worth the time spent.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
There are several books about Capote out there. George Plimpton's 'Truman Capote' is an example which presents the thoughts of those who actually knew him. There are others which purport to present the facts as drawn from archive material and interviews with the man himself (and as we know, Truman's own version of his life could be somewhat unreliable) . The question is, wherein lies the truth about T.C.?

Well, all biographies must suffer from a little guesswork and, in the case of Mr Plimpton's fine tome, perhaps a little added colour at times. However, this one by Gerald Clarke entitled simply 'Capote - A Biography' is a remarkable achievement. It's closer to being a proper document of Truman's life than any other book I've read. It soon becomes clear that a vast amount of research has gone into it's making along with the use of a wealth of interviews. What emerges is a wonderfully balanced, well written biography that should be a must for all scholars of Mr Capote. And Truman's life is well worth reading about. Whether painful or happy, trashy or profound his was a busy life filled with interest and variety.

At no point does it attempt to sensationalise Truman's life which was fascinating enough not to require embellishment. And at a whopping 550 pages (not including source notes etc) it's a surprisingly easy read. Mr Clarke's writing style flows beautifully guiding the reader effortlessly and in a thoroughly entertaining manner. He's not attempted to impose himself upon the text, there's no attempt at ego here.

My only criticism is about the way the book has been marketed. My edition states that it is 'now a major motion picture starring Philip Seymour Hoffman' which it certainly is not. The fault of this rather misleading claim can be easily placed at the feet of the publishers and their desire to sell more copies. It's entirely likely that the makers of the film entitled 'Capote' used this book as part of their reference but that film covered only a small part of T.C.'s life whilst this work attempts to span all from birth (actually from a little bit before birth) to death.

If you are a student of Capote or merely someone who likes his writing this is a great book that is as compulsive as a 'holiday read'. You could take this to the beach and get lost in it all day and actually end up learning something.

3-0 out of 5 stars Decide how interested you are in Capote's life.
I have mixed feeling about this book, which is why I have given it a three star rating. If you are very interested in Truman Capote, then this is the biography to read. It is a very detailed and well-written book.If you have only a little interest, however, it may be overwhelmingly long.My husband got to page 374, and put it aside, asking me to tell him if he should finish it or not.Being only mildly interested in Capote, I found that I could only read the book for an hour to an hour in a half at a time.Gerald Clarke could very well be the only biographer who really knew Truman.Clarke thought that he would be spending two or three years on the book, and it would be a short book.Instead the book became a 547-page book that he spent more than 13 years researching and writing.He talked to hundreds of people who knew Truman, and even more importantly he spent 9 years observing and interviewing Truman himself, often in restaurants, but also at Truman's home on Long Island as they both lived only a few minutes apart from each other.Over the years they became close friends.The book covers his unhappy childhood, his rise to fame, his downfall, and his sad death.Expect lots and lots of pages about his relationships with the wealthy and famous people he hung out with.It is because of this that my husband became bored enough to put it down, and the reason why I sometimes laid it aside after only reading for an hour.Still, when I read the last page, I felt I had read as definitive a telling of Truman's life as could be told. So, did I tell my husband to finish the book?Yes I did.I also told him to read the Afterward, which is only three and a half pages long. ... Read more

11. Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintences and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career
by George Plimpton
 Paperback: 544 Pages (1998-11-10)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$3.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385491735
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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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.Amazon.com Review
Nobody can match George Plimpton as an adroit weaver ofinterviews into a tight narrative fabric. Plimpton can make even anegligible life into a magic-carpet ride, as in his editing of JeanStein's perennial bestseller, Edie, about AndyWarhol's victim-starlet Edie Sedgwick.

In Truman Capote, Plimpton has an infinitely more importantsubject, who worked his way down from the top into the shallow pit ofdruggy celebrity. His book doesn't knock the definitive biography Capote off theshelf, but it's much more fun to read. Plimpton interviewed more thana hundred people--from Capote's childhood to his peak period, 1966,when his Black and White Ball defined high society and In Cold Bloodlaunched the true crime genre, all the way down to his last, sad daysas a bitchy caricature of himself. Joanna Carson complains thatPlimpton's book is "gossip," which it gloriously is. But it's alsobrimming with important literary history, and it helps in theHerculean task of sorting out the truth from Capote's multitudinous,entertaining lies; for instance, In Cold Blood turns out to benot strictly factual. James Dickey, whose similar self-destruction ischronicled in Summer ofDeliverance, delivers here a good definition of Capote's truegift to literature: "The scene stirring with rightness andstrangeness, the compressed phrase, the exact yet imaginative word,the devastating metaphorical aptness, a feeling of concentrated excesswhich at the same time gives the effect of being crystalline."--Tim Appelo ... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

5-0 out of 5 stars An Essential Book.
This is the type of book that is not only rare--finely written by a insightful, stylish, talented and committed writer. But it is the type of book that can never be repeated. Plimpton's biography captures not only Capote the man and through the fascinating lens of the oral history but it transcends the immediate subject to give the reader an epic, cinematic view of mid-20th century America, the cultural elite, the tastemakers, the people who genuinely played a part in what this country produced in art. For all of that and infinitely more, it's an essential book. But, one the reader reflects on what serious writers had available to them back then--the workshops, mentors, possibilities and impact, this book becomes an elegy for something we will never have again.



4-0 out of 5 stars Truman Capote
Anyone who has read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote knows that it was his best writing. He created a new genre of reporting and fiction combined by immersing himself in the subject of his book. He spent months living in Kansas where the Clutter family was murdered and many hours with the two young men who did the killing. After the blockbuster book came out, Capote was catapaulted into celebrity and high society. This book is so interesting because it follows Capote's life from childhood through his rise and fall from grace. His friends and acquaintances tell the story as if you were sitting there listening to them discuss Capote, the good and the bad. Truman was an elfin sprite, full of stories, not all true but extremely entertaining. But at the end of his life he was using drugs and alcohol to deaden the frustration of being unable to top his masterpiece book and finding nothing better to write about, turned on his high society friends, writing a tell all book about them using thinly disguised characters. Because of this, the people who made him, dropped him out of their lives completely, leaving him bewildered. He had wrongly assumed that they would understand and forgive him. After that he simply drifted and declined physically, drinking until his body gave out. He died in the arms of his best friend Joanne Carson, exwife of Johnny Carson. He knew he was going and begged her not to call for help, as he was worn out and finished. I think I would like to read In Cold Blood again, this time with a different understanding of Truman Capote.

4-0 out of 5 stars A fictional biography of Capote
As a fan of Plimpton's witty style, I picked up the Capote biography, only to realize that Plimpton didn't write it. Instead, he interviewed dozens of people and let them tell Capote's life story. At first, I was mildly disappointed but soon understood the irony: Capote was infamous for his gossipping, and now these acquaintances are gossipping about him. In the same way that Capote created a "nonfiction novel" with In Cold Blood, Plimpton compiled a "subjective biography" that focuses on Capote's public persona more than his private life. (Perhaps because much of his private life was public.) The interviews are colored by the subjects' relationships with Capote, and many of them have an agenda in talking about him, so I would not recommend the book to someone who wants to read a factual chronicle. However, it is entertaining and gives a portrait of the New York high society--in which authors had a place, unlike today (I think)--probably better than a standard biography could provide.

4-0 out of 5 stars Inimitable Plimpton
Full of salacious detail and struck through with the the vagaries of human nature, this oral history highlights, in an immensely readable way, the arc of ambition that propels the talented Tuman Capote to reach beyond the world into which he was born. The journey takes us on a wonderful romp through post WWII New York society and careens toward a place where our subject falls to his own singular sirens. It was a great Nantucket beach read.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Capote Reader
I really liked this book. I am a Truman Capote fan, and the book was wonderful. A must read for Capote fans especially! ... Read more

12. In Cold Blood (Paperback)
by Truman Capote (Author)
Unknown Binding: Pages (2004)
-- used & new: US$10.33
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Asin: B003CGSSJY
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Non-fiction, But It Reads Like A Wonderfully Crafted Novel
Saw the movie Capote (I gave it 3 out of 5 stars) with Philip Seymour Hoffman and thought that I would read the book that plays such a prominent role in the film.The book is non-fiction, but it reads like a wonderfully crafted novel.Capote's style is a little dense at times, but he handles a gruesome subject quite well and it becomes a page turner. ... Read more

13. Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories (Modern Library)
by Truman Capote
Hardcover: 161 Pages (1994-01-13)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.48
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Asin: 067960085X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Breakfast at Tiffany's
House of Flowers
A Diamond Guitar
A Christmas Memory ... Read more

Customer Reviews (120)

5-0 out of 5 stars Never Love a Wild Thing
"Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1959), Truman Capote's classic novella, is a story of innocence, love and sadness in the person of an enigmatic young woman, Holly Golightly. Set in the years of WW II, in New York City, tne story is told in the words of a nameless male narrator and an aspiring writer whom Holly refers to as "Fred" after her soldier brother. Both Holly, going on 19, and the narrator reside in a brownstone apartment building on the East side of Manhattan and live bohemian lives.A third primary character of the story is Joe Bell, a stoic, Tums-chewing bachelor bartender on Lexington Avenue who is a common friend of Holly and Fred.

For all its brevity, "Breakfast at Tiffany" is full of detail and subtle characterizations of its protagonists and its secondary characters. The story is beautifully structured, as it begins with the chronological end of the events it relates and only gradually unfold's Holly's story and character. Capote's language is precise and highly rhythmic.Not a word is wasted. Norman Mailer described Capote as "the best writer of my generation" based upon this little book.

Holly is a girl of uncertain background when she and the narrator befriend each other.She dreams of finding love, wealth, and a true home. She receives money from wealthy male admirers, and she also becomes emeshed with a gangster named Sally whom she visits in Sing Sing once a week.Holly carries enigmatic, coded messages from Sally to one of his associates. Ultimately, she is arrested as an accomplice to Sally and is forced to flee.

Holly is a mix of vulnerablility, innocence and wildness. "Never love a wild thing", she says at a key point of the story in explaining why she declines to become pinned down.Wildness and freedom receive great play in the story.At an earlier point, the narrator admires an expensive antique bird cage large enough for several parotts. Holly buys it as a surprise Christmas present while she makes the narrator promise never to put a bird in it. Holly too flys away at the end. Search and freedom are not ends as Holly looks for a love that perhaps she never finds.

Although Capote writes in a terse, fast-paced style with little introspective commentary, his portrayal of Holly Golightly reminded me of Henry James's portraits of American women. The styles of the two writers are markedly different. Yet both James and Capote in this book share a certain view of American women in their innocence, independence, and surface toughness.For her apparently footlose, sensual lifestyle, Holly values love above all.She shares her favors liberally and is rewarded, but she disaproves of prostitution because it is not an honest expression of feeling. The story expresses something archtypically American. At one point, Holly tells the narrator:

"I've thrown away my horoscopes. I must have spent a dollar on every goddamn star in the goddamn planetarium.It's a bore, but the answer is good things happen to you only if your're good.Good?Honest is more what I mean.Not law-type honest -- I'd rob a grave.I'd steal two-bits off a dead man's eyes if I thought it would contribute to the day's enjoyment-- but unto-thyself-type honest.Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart."

"Breakfast at Tiffany'" can be read quickly, but it is a book that will repay several close rereadings. I wanted to read this book for a long time but never did, possibly because I was put off by what I knew of Capote himself.It was my loss. This is a masterful book with a lead character, Holly, who has deservedly become an American icon.

Robin Friedman

4-0 out of 5 stars Part 1 of my planned three-part Breakfast at Tiffany's program
I'm planning to read Sam Wasson's new book Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman.To get there, I first read Truman Capote's original story.Next up, viewing of Blake Edwards' 1961 film.Then, on to Wasson's book.

The three additional stories here are of little weight and value - it's 'Breakfast' that is Capote's slim masterpiece. Its 119 small, generously spaced pages can be easily gulped down in a single setting.

Like 'Catcher in the Rye,' the reader is left amazed that these words were conceived and written 50+ years ago (original publication date: 1958) so vibrant do they feel.Capote's original incarnation makes much plainer than the book the nature of Holly's true vocation.And, contrary to Audrey Hepburn's gauzy, iconographic screen beauty, Capote's Ms. Golightly is, while lithe, of coarser and tougher stock.When my wife asked me my opinion after finishing it, my immediate reaction was that it was sadder and darker than I expected.

Capote's writing is a marvel.As Norman Mailer's cover blurb notes: Capote was - at one point - seen as the best writer of his generation.It's hard not to read these pages and think of his blazing start as a young writer and juxtapose that against the parody he'd become later in life.He abused and wasted his talent through prodigious consumption of drugs and alcohol, not to mention a well-honed talent for blowing up important friendships with his thinly disguised literary send-ups.

5-0 out of 5 stars perfect
This is such a wonderful, easy read that you'll enjoy from start to finish. I think it was perfect. I saw the movie too and while the movie was good, the book is much much better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Indelible
What a charming and eccentric character Holly Golightly is! Capote manages to cram a decent amount of her history and characterization in such a slim novella. It's breathtaking, sucking you in and not letting go until the last word.
Indeed, all the short stories in this collection breathe with the life of the characters. The settings are wide and varied and described in a way that gives you a real picture in your head; not easy to do with a short story!
After reading this, I become more interested in Capote himself. What kind of upbringing must he have had to write on the topics of prostitutes in Haiti with the same aplomb as he does an impoverished little boy and his elderly friend?
This is the first book by Capote I've read, though I've seen "In Cold Blood" the movie and have intended to read that book for a while. I am now more likely to pick it up to read sooner, and also to get a hold of his other work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Long Praise for the Little Book

Allow me to suppose the following: you are reading my review knowing that I gave this petite book the highest score I could have given it; you are reading my review knowing that unless I suffer from a dramatic flair, an excellent score means I lack a large number of negative comments; and, you are reading my review knowing that many editions exist.Thus, for now, I will ignore Mr. Capote and Holly Golightly and discuss the merits of the Modern Library edition.In short: get it over other editions.Yes, I would say the same for a lot of books.Each page is thick, sure, but just thin enough to make each page flip--if you are cognizant of these things like I am--an aesthetic pleasure.The pages themselves are small and a shade of white that does not bother the eyes.Unless you love to study how a given author blends words together, how they set a rhythm with a string of sentences, or are just an indubitably slow reader, the text fills a page in way that does not make it last long.

Look: I would have given this book four stars had it not been for the three short stories.Capote's BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S has enough symbolism to satiate the most thoughtful of readers, but the three short stories add to the already pervasive--in the novella--theme of the loner who is searching, yearning.The three had to be chosen to accompany the novella with care; each significantly adds to the structure, the collection of symbols that BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S starts and "A Christmas Memory" ends. For every fault I can find in the little story, I can find two lovely contributions in the collection of three.

An example of a fault?Many of the details, particularly those concerning Holly Golightly's associations, are unlikely.However, as a result of Capote's stylistic choices, the few specious events in the story--those small moments that are humorous and colorful but ultimately spell-breaking--are made strangely believable.A contradiction, for sure, but a true statement.The relatable first-person narrator attenuates the reader's critical eye enough to allow drifting, the pleasing feeling of following a story and believing it as truth.At times, the effect is unfairly accomplished.For example, the narrator is a young writer whose first apartment is in New York City.He celebrates his birthday on September 30th and is strangely resistant to the ostensibly irresistible Golightly.Sounds like the author to me.This reader was unsure whether or not to believe the nameless narrator was supposed to be Capote himself, but ultimately decided it did not add anything to the story if he was.

If you read for style, all four stories are wonderfully executed."House of Flowers," I do have to say, is abstruse not because of language but because of metaphor.What exactly does one make of the mother-in-law, the ending?"A Diamond Guitar" is excellent, "A Christmas Memory," though as sweet as a smiling puppy, touching like a letter from an old friend, is even stronger--do not be fooled by its tone.Ultimately, however, it is BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S that overcomes, especially stylistically.How well Capote makes us believe, see Holly!What a dazzling thing it is to be led by Capote, his bouncing sentences and wonderful scenes.Read it for sure.All of it.You will think about it longer than it will take you to read. ... Read more

14. Conversations with Capote
by Lawrence Grobel
Paperback: 272 Pages (2000-08)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.93
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Asin: 0306809443
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Extraordinary conversations with the writer and celebrity who elevated talk to art and gossip to literature; "a candid, controversial, and engrossing read... from a tiny terror who wore brass knuckles on his tongue"

Who but Truman Capote would dare to say that about (among many, many others) Jacqueline Onassis, Norman Mailer, Montgomery Clift, Andr Gide, Marilyn Monroe, Lee Radziwill, Tennessee Williams, J. D. Salinger, Gore Vidal, and Elizabeth Taylor? Equally pointed is Capote's talk about himself-his childhood and early fame, his bouts with drugs and alcohol, his homosexuality, his assessment of his talent and his work, including In Cold Blood. He has definite opinions about good writing, and he isn't shy about saying who he thinks the biggest phonies are among his fellow writers. Conversations with Capote-which Capote intended to be the definitive in-depth interview-makes both the man and his times come alive and has what the San Diego Union called the "quality that will bring readers to it again and again." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to put this one down.
Wonderfully insightful.Truman's own words give you an entryto this great writer's philosophy.It's a fast read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
Truman Capote was a great writer and self-promoter. Both characteristics come through in these interviews with Lawrence Grobel, an interviewer who has done his homework and only intrudes when he has something to add.

The book stands up well on its own merits, but will prove more enjoyable if you read some backgound material first, notably (in order of priority) "Music for Chameleons," Gerald Clarke's first-rate biography, and "In Cold Blood."

After you've read it, you may want to watch A & E's excellent documentary on Capote's life.

5-0 out of 5 stars You Will Want to Read the Whole Thing
I own several books of conversations with authors.This is the first one I've wanted to read cover-to-cover without pausing for a breath.It's the first one I haven't been tempted to skim, looking for the best nuggets, because this one is FULL of nuggets.Capote isn't afraid to say, flat-out, what is on his mind.The chapter about his contemporaries is particularly interesting to me.

For instance, of Faulker he says:"Well, he was completely reckless.I'm not a great admirer of Faulkner.He never had the slightest influence on me at all.I like three or four short stories of his, 'That Evening Sun,' and I like one novel of his very much, called LIGHT IN AUGUST.But for the most part, he's a highly confusing, uncontrolled writer."

Which is all absolutely reasonable.Then Capote adds, "I knew Faulkner very well.He was a great friend of mine.Well, as much as you could be a friend of his, unless you were a fourteen-year-old nymphet.Then you could be a great friend!"

And Capote doesn't hold back about any of his other contemporaries, either, like Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Gertrude Stein, and more.For instance, when the interviewer expresses his respect for Bellow's HENDERSON THE RAIN KING, Capote says, "Oh no.Dull, dull."

This book also has several photographs of Capote.The quality of the photos, at least in my softcover edition, are rather poor, unfortunately, but many of them I've never seen before, such as the one with Truman showing up to a court appearance on a drunk driving charge in shorts!The caption reads:"He [the judge] was very insulted...Actually, I looked quite smart.I had a very smart pair of shorts on and a very smart jacket and shirt and sandals."

In some ways, this is like reading a great comedy routine, yet there are definitely undercurrents of anger and sadness in this book.I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Capote at his best
This is the book that makes you sad at the prospect of Truman Capote dying before he could finish his last novel, but you suspect that he didn't have to finish it since you get a lot of it from these interviews. He was one of the most fascinating figures in literary history and his insights into art, literature and celebrity are amazing.

There's a running rivalry with Norman Mailer, a dismissal of the beats, discussion of Breakfast at Tiffany's. He talks about interviewing the killers for In Cold Blood and how that led to other interviews with convicted killers. He discusses Hemmingway and leaves the reader with one of the best lines ever - "I am the man that Hemingway pretended to be." which is even more interesting when you consider Hemingway's repressed homosexuality (or accusations thereof) in light of Capote's openly gay personae that he displayed when that could get you killed.

Be warned. Once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down. So set time aside so you can finish it in one sitting.

5-0 out of 5 stars Funny read
everything and perhaps a little more than you want to know about Truman Capote. A nice easy to read bok. ... Read more

15. Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 512 Pages (2005-09-13)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375702415
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The private letters of Truman Capote, lovingly assembled here for the first time by acclaimed Capote biographer Gerald Clarke, provide an intimate, unvarnished portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most colorful and fascinating literary figures.

Capote was an inveterate letter writer. He wrote letters as he spoke: emphatically, spontaneously, and passionately. Spanning more than four decades, his letters are the closest thing we have to a Capote autobiography, showing us the uncannily self-possessed na•f who jumped headlong into the post—World War II New York literary scene; the more mature Capote of the 1950s; the Capote of the early 1960s, immersed in the research and writing of In Cold Blood; and Capote later in life, as things seemed to be unraveling. With cameos by a veritable who’s who of twentieth century glitterati, Too Brief a Treat shines a spotlight on the life and times of an incomparable American writer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Better than a diary!
When you read personal correspondence written to friends, lovers, and business associates . . . well, it doesn't get any better!Candid, un-censored, witty, funny, revealing, cutting . . . it's all there!A great look at the true Truman Capote.Very interesting.

3-0 out of 5 stars A sense of Capote
Letters are interesting to read and you get a real feeling for how needy he must have been to be loving everyone so much.
I think it is better to read his biography first, so that you know who the people are in the letters.It's a little confusing otherwise.That's what I plan to do.

4-0 out of 5 stars Too Much Of A Good Thing
I always loved Truman Capote's writing and looked forward to this book oh, so much, especiallywhen I saw it was edited by the estimable Gerald Clarke, who has written so brilliantly on Capote in his biography (and who also wrote GET HAPPY, a terrific life of Judy Garland).(Hmmm, he must specialize in the tiny.)

But alas Capote's letters just aren't as good as his fiction.They seem hurried, scattered, as though he were writing too fast to revise, everything exactly the opposite of what one likes about the stories and filmscripts.I will say you do get a different side of him, and the outlines of his social world become clearer, so view this compilation as an addendum to the biography, and you won't go far wrong.

I was surprised to see him make so much of (i.e. flatter) Cecil Beaton, it sounded phony.It seems that he treated Newton Arvin pretty well all things put together.Some have said that he "used" Arvin to get ahead and then dumped him once he had found a measure of his own success.But Arvin can't have been an easy guy to live with IMHO.Another interesting correspondent is William Goyen.I think the best letter in all of TOO BRIEF A TREAT is Capote's letter congratulating Goyen on the achievement of THE HOUSE OF BREATH.That letter, in the perfection of its phrases and the conviction of its rapture, is alone worth the price of the book.It's a shame that Goyen later turned on Capote and treated him so shabbily.Good for Gerald Clarke for pointing this out.

Meanwhile the good news for Capote fans is that his novel SUMMER CROSSING, about which many of the letters to Bob Linscott are devoted, has been recovered and now, fifty-plus years later, it might be seeing the light of day.In the interim we will re-read these letters, hoping to scan in more data on the terrific catastrophe that was Truman Capote's life.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not the treat I was expecting
Truman Capote is one of my all time favorite writers so I was surprised that his letters are somewhat of a disappointment. The letters span 46 years with the majority of them from the late 40s and 50s. It's too bad that there are only a handful of correspondence from Capote's celebrated period following the release of "In Cold Blood," a book which turned him into a celebrity. I suppose he was too busy with his success and celebrity to write letters during this period. There is nothing about his famous Black and White Ball or the infamous article which scandalized the jet set. Hardly anything is here from the 70s either, a period in which he was practically a household name, appearing in movies and talk shows.

What is included are letters to his editors, Robert Linscott and Bennett Cerf, discussing his work and responding to criticism. Many letters to his lovers also are included but Capote seemed to have been very discreet (unlike in public life). Letters to David Selznick and Jennifer Jones give us a glimpse into the years of Hollywood life but very little juicy gossip - they leave the reader wanting more. During the years of Capote's research for "In Cold Blood," he corresponded frequently with Alvin Dewey, the detective in charge of the case, and his wife Marie. These letters are mainly questions from Capote concerning details of the case and Capote providing the Deweys with access to his Hollywood friends. Letters to the Dewey's son, Alvin Jr., show remarkable affection and advice and criticism to an aspiring writer.

Capote was a wanderer and his letters were written from his various residences across the globe - Sicily, Spain, Paris, Switzerland, Venice, California, New York, Alabama, etc. Jack Dunphy, his longtime companion is often mentioned with love and affection. Cecil Beaton and Christopher Isherwood were also frequent correspondents, but again, very little gossip.

The letters do show that Capote was obviously a very compassionate man and despite his biting wit and bitchy persona, they reveal a warm and caring man.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for fans of the genre and of the man
"Your letter was too brief a treat, but a treat all the same; there is only one excitement to my day, and that is when the postman comes." So wrote the author who sometimes waited an hour for the best word to come to mind when engaged in concocting a novel, yet spun off letters to friends and colleagues like cotton candy.

Truman Capote, to whom fame came early and lasted long, called all of his correspondents by such adorations as "precious baby, darling child." To almost anyone he was likely to say, "much love, little blue eyes" or "I miss you 24 hours of the day" or "a thousand kisses, precious." It seemed that nearly everyone he wrote to was his darling, his love, and wanted showering with kisses.

Not that he couldn't be cutting and catty, though always with gentility, at least on paper: "I'm afraid he's set fire to too many bridges"; "he's furious because anyone other than himself is here" (of W.H. Auden); and, of Jimmy (James) Baldwin, "his essays are at least intelligent, though they almost invariably end on a fakely hopeful, hymn-singing note."

Of his early work on IN COLD BLOOD he wrote, "This is my last attempt at reportage." Like almost every writer, he wanted to know what the critics were really thinking and get copies of all his reviews. He managed to sound both humble and very puffy when referring to his successes, and terribly anxious about the fate of pieces in progress.

A collection of so very many letters (for that is all the book is) can start to feel water-logged after a while. It's a good thing to recall that posterity will not necessarily be fascinated by one's complaints about the cold, the prices of goods in foreign cities, or the antics of one's pets (and Truman had many). We would all make our letters more artistic and succinct if we imagined that they'd be read generations hence.

So we can speculate on two forking probabilities. One: that Capote well knew that his words would be taken for gemstones ages from now and wrote with the cagey casualness of the omniscient observer. Two: that Capote never imagined for an instant that anyone would collect his letters to friends and place them on the altar of memory for the entire world to see.

I prefer the second alternative, because I like thinking of Capote as a natural, sweet-hearted man, who showed his artistic brilliance to the public but saved his syrup and a touch of spice for his epistolary relationships.

TOO BRIEF A TREAT is a book for fans of the genre and of the man.

--- Reviewed by Barbara Bamberger Scott, author of WITH IT: A Year on the Carnival Trail ... Read more

16. Music for Chameleons
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 288 Pages (1994-03-29)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.20
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679745661
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In these gems of reportage Truman Capote takes true stories and real people and renders then with the stylistic brio we expect from great fiction. Here we encounter an exquisitely preserved Creole aristocrat sipping absinthe in her Martinique salon; an enigmatic killer who sends his victims announcements of their forthcoming demise; and a proper Connecticut householder with a ruinous obsession for a twelve-year-old girl he has never met. And we meet Capote himself, who, whether he is smoking with his cleaning lady or trading sexual gossip with Marilyn Monroe, remainds one of the most elegant, malicious, yet compassionate writers to train his eye on the social fauna of our time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

3-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing, great storytelling, but lack of message
This is a quick, fun book to read:Truman Capote's writing, essentially exaggerated nonfiction (which makes for good storytelling), is crisp and concise and his stories consistently fast-flowing.(Well...the first story is a bit slow - though it does lend the book a fantastic title.)

Another thing that makes this book special is that although it's a scattershot of short stories spread over time and presented in no particular order, it reads like a cohesive book.I give Capote credit for that.(Of course, Capote is a character in each story, so he unifies the collection.)

But my criticism:The book lacks a positive message.Some of the stories are more positive than others, but mostly they're just an exercise in quality literary entertainment.It's clear that Capote, by the time of this writing, is very depressed.Although in the last chapter he drops his guard and admits to the obvious, that he's a screwed-up alcoholic, throughout the book he lauds alcohol as something great, and clearly takes pride in his constant drinking.Yuck!

Also, he has a fascination with murderers, crime, glitz, fame, sexual acting out, drugs, name-dropping, and a generally bitchy attitude toward his fellow humans.Sad that someone with such brains and talent and potential could make it to his 50s and still not work out his kinks - and not write a book that offers some new way to our troubled species.

And Capote gives his clues as to why he was so lost and stuck:his miserable, rejecting, abandoning childhood, and his lack of resolution over it.When he wrote of Marilyn Monroe (a particularly negative chapter in the book) as a "beautiful child," I think he was really writing about himself - the truth of who he was beneath his grandiose, fame-seeking façade:a traumatized, wounded, but beautiful little child.I can't help but love the guy; a real shame he didn't learn to love himself.

(He died a few years after writing this book, age 59.)

5-0 out of 5 stars Music for Chameleons

Music for Chameleons and Hand Carved Coffins is a diverse collection of short stories written by Truman Capote.
Music sets the mood in Fort de France on the island of Martinique as a silver haired aristocrat plays a Mozart sonata on a piano to the delight of the skittering chameleons.
Then there's Mr. Jones the blind wheelchair bound Brooklyn rooming house resident that turns out, in the end, to be nothing short of a human chameleon.
On a cold winter's night TC was fortunate to seek shelter and a phone in the house with the `Lamp in the Window' and a homeowner that was nocturnal, lonely and trusting.
`Hand Carved Coffins' is billed as a nonfiction account of an American crime set in an unsophisticated farm and ranch community. However, the string of murders apparently perpetrated by one person was anything but unsophisticated.
Truman Capote is as comfortable walking down Second Avenue with Mary Sanchez, the cleaning lady in `A Day's Work' as he was with friends at a posh reception in Turtle Bay.
The preface to the book gives an insight to the writing discipline TC exacted upon himself.
Keep a copy of `Music' as reference to a writing style you're not likely to see again.

Tom Barnes author of `Doc Holliday's Road to Tombstone,' `The Goring Collection.' `The Hurricane Hunters and Lost in the Bermuda Triangle.'

2-0 out of 5 stars This must be Capote at his worst
I'd been teaching In Cold Blood for two semesters and used the preface to this to introduce In Cold Blood, so I figured I might as well read the rest of the book.This is late-period Capote, mostly a mishmash of personal essays, anecdotes, and a novella-length true crime story.

First of all, the preface makes Capote seem like a self-involved jackass (which he by most accounts was - remember the postscript to the movie saying he never recovered from writing In Cold Blood?), but it also reveals his dislike for his own work, including In Cold Blood; he even says he went back and rewrote much of the novel, Unanswered Prayers, that ironically was never finished.About the work included in this book, he says basically two things:

1. He wants to "combine within a single form - say the short story - all he knows about every other form of writing"

2. Instead of consciously leaving himself out of his writing, "I set myself center stage, and reconstructed, in a severe, minimal manner, commonplace conversations with everyday people: the superintendent of my building, a masseur at the gym, an old school friend, [Marilyn Monroe, Robert Beausoleil, the two sides of himself - you know, everyday people]..."

So the book is divided into 3 parts, the first and third being mostly brief snapshots and anecdotes that seem kind of retrogressive to me, harking back to his early days writing about Brooklyn Heights, only now he's moved to the Upper East Side.The Marilyn Monroe piece is mostly trifling and I'm sure did no favors to her reputation, but has a clever, moderately powerful turn-of-phrase ending it."Mojave," the only pure fiction included in the collection, is easily the worst apple in the bunch; it says a lot about the scarcity of good writing Capote was doing by this time, and really should have been relegated to post-mortem collections.The Beausoleil piece, like a few others in the collection, is pretty much just an interview transcript from his conversations with Charles Manson's cohort, but has some interesting, fairly astute comments from Beausoleil about Perry Smith and Capote's relationship with him."Hello, Stranger" is also emblematic of other pieces here, as it reveals a growing, unsettling antipathy Capote has developed for the inhabitants of the world and his writing - an alcoholic old friend of Capote's comes to him for advice about an sexual encounter with a minor that never happened and his ensuing nervous breakdown, and Capote's foremost observations are that the guy is now thirty pounds overweight and used to have Capote write his English papers in prep school (he in turn did Capote's math problems).

The one piece that I would say could have been published by anyone outside a decrepit Truman Capote was the true-crime novella, "Handcarved Coffins."Most of it annoyingly also follows the interview/stage directions format (I guess that's what Capote was referring to when he said he wanted to transcend genre), but the plot itself is engrossing from the start.More than In Cold Blood it seems almost too implausible to happen, and unlike ICB Capote consciously makes himself a central character of this story of a renegade ranch owner-turned-serial-killer.

Overall, Music for Chameleons falls directly into the Read-It-If-You-Like-Capote category.It probably reveals more about his own (late-life) personality than any of his other work and has flashes of good stuff, but is almost laughably self-referential and self-congratulatory, especially the last piece, a silly dialogue between Capote (TC) and himself (also TC).

5-0 out of 5 stars In his own words
In the truest sense of the word, Truman Capote is a wordsmith.Even before looking at the context of a story, I am amazed by Capote's ability to to craft words together in a sentence for a powerful meaning.While I wish I had half of his writing talent, I also wish more contemporary writers were as gifted in composing prose as Capote.

In large part, "Music for Chameleons" fits into Capote's unique category "the non-fiction novel".I have noticed other reviewers have disputed some of the facts in this book which I will leave for them to debate.For purposes of this review, I will state that I enjoyed this book as will many others that are familiar with Capote's writing and the celebrity culture with which he was engrained.Aside from a small minority, the stories focused on ordinary people.The interview with Marilyn Monroe reveals a quirky side of her character which sheds light on a different side of her as a person.While I thought "Handcarvered Coffins" was the highlight of the set, I also enjoyed stories like "A Day's Work" and Hello, Stranger."

Some readers may pick and choose which stories from this set that they read or even enjoy.It is appropriate that Capote closed the collection with a self-interview.While initially evasive in his self-interview, Capote bring the collection of stories full circle with a beautiful simple theme.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous after thirty years
I read this the first time when it was first published in the 1970's, but, after re-reading it, I really didn't get the message.I got it this time.If I were to list the five best books I've read, this would be near the top of that list. ... Read more

17. Retratos (Compactos) (Spanish Edition)
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 168 Pages (2004-01-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$17.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8433966707
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by Truman Capote
Paperback: 188 Pages (2008)
-- used & new: US$13.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9875663611
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Después de su extraordinario debut con Otras voces. otros ámbitos. Truman Capote vuelve a deslumbrar a sus lectores de estos relatos. Miriam y Cierra la ultima puerta . fueron galardonados con el prestigioso premio O´ Henry.Mr. Revercomb el comprador de sueños que se apodar de las almas. Miss Bobit. la mujer sensual y decidida atrapada en el cuerpo de una niña. y Walter. el trepador que precipita su propia caída. son algunos de los singulares personajes que dan vida a las historias de este libro. Niños enigmáticos o adultos que no han salido completamente de la infancia. viven al compás de impulsos incontrolables o a mereced de sus propias fantasías.El ámbito que Capote retrata con exquisito talento. reflejo fiel del de su propia infancia. es un mundo cargado de secretos . temores y prestigios que despierta en sus lectores tanto la familiaridad como el asombro. Una vez mas demuestra aquí los meritos de la inconfundible prosa que lo ubico en la cima de la literatura de nuestro tiempo. ... Read more

19. Breakfast at Tiffany's (Essential Penguin)
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 160 Pages (1998-09-03)
list price: US$16.50 -- used & new: US$7.27
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Asin: 0140274111
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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With her tousled blond hair and upturned nose, dark glasses and chic black dresses, Holly Golightly is top notch in style and a sensation wherever she goes. Her brownstone apartment vibrates with martini-soaked parties as she plays hostess to millionaires and gangsters alike. Yet Holly never loses sight of her ultimate goal - to find a real life place like Tiffany's that makes her feel at home. Immortalized in a film starring Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" is full of sharp wit and in its exuberant cast of characters vividly captures the restless, slightly madcap era of early 1940s New York. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

4-0 out of 5 stars Holly would, if she could...
This is my first time reading a Capote work and I was just dying to see if the book was anything at all like the movie--it was.But I like the movies ending better!Very imaginative storyline-Holly is larger than life and that is truly the way I like my fiction characters.Overall a good read.The short stories that followed were quite good, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
The purchase was as easy as can be and surprisingly quick. Great Amazon reaching forgotten far away places like mine.
I bet everybody has seen the cult movie starring Audrey Hepburn, well i enjoyed the novella too and so did my students. We worked on the differences in class and my high school students really appreciated the lessons.
The book was second hand and was rated good which was absolutely true.
The customer is fully satisfied.

4-0 out of 5 stars Living life to the fullest
A young lady's hectic life in New York in the 1940's.A beautiful, unpredictable 19 year-old living life to the fullest, from one party to the next, breaking hearts here & there, in short, quite a tease.A strong character indeed, with a hidden fragility coming from an obscure past, a past that she does not want to share with anyone.Meet Holly Golightly, Travelling.She is here depicted by one of her previous neighbours, a young writer with whom she shared quite a few adventures and a strong bond. Holly doesn't seem to have peace, she is forever on her way out, dazzling, attractive.A young woman of the world, well known by New York socialites and not only.Some of her connections are questionable and will they get her into trouble?That is for you to find out.

I loved the narrative.My first book by Truman Capote, better late than never (I had seen the film but could not remember it) and a real discovery.Simple, elegant, to the point, funny and sad simultaneously, conveying Holly's character in a perfect way.I was expecting a heart-breaking love story but this was not it.It was more than that.Strong, fragile Holly (probably still travelling) is a very likeable personage.The other characters including the narrator, mostly in the background, also find a perfect niche to complement the novel.

It was an interesting choice by the author that she was depicted in an era when most ladies' place was at home.Independent, not caring a bit about being "judged".Looking for love?Looking for "something"?Is that why she is forever running around?Well, as long as she can relax with breakfast at Tiffany's, all is ok.

Read this book, a few delightful pages (it's very short) that will leave you hanging in there for an answer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Writing
This is a short novella, and a page turner set in New York city in the 1950s or late 1940s.

Truman Capote, 1924 to 1984, is a well know American writer. I have read a number of his works including his famous In Cold Blood, a book that I recommend highly. Also, I read some of his early work including Other Voices, Other Rooms, and many of his short stories. Generally, he is regarded as an excellent writer or a highly gifted writer. He ranks among the best of his time. In Cold Blood is probably his finest work and one of the better crime books of the twentieth century.

There are some parallels between Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby and Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. Both show an attempt by the writers to write a novel different from their prior works using clear and straightforward prose, and with relatively coherent plots. One could say these works were more commercially oriented. Perhaps they had the idea of novels as the basis of screenplays or a play. The work is less complex than most of Capote's prior works and it seems more polished. Capote called it the beginning of his second career where he thinned out the prose. It is the opposite of his obscure and creative Other Voices, Other Rooms. F. Scott Fitzgerald made similar comments in his diaries on the preparation of Gatsby.

This is a short novel or novella. It involves the fictitious friend of the writer, Holly Golightly, and their mutual friend Joe Bell, a bar owner in Manhattan. She is a free spirit and a neighbour of the narrator living below him in an apartment. They share the telephone at Joe's bar, and Joe takes messages for them. We follow some of her escapades and the relationship between the narrator and Holly. We assume that the narrator is like Capote.

In my own mind, it seems difficult to equate the woman in the story with Audrey Hepburn who appears in the movie version. The woman in the book seems younger, more sexual, and more manipulative.

This is a very entertaining book which is hard to put down.It is among the best works of Capote

Fine writing: 5 stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars a classic
Breakfast at Tiffany's is a true American classic.At 100 pages, it is a quick read, but a must for the faithful reader.The other 3 short stories included in this compilation are even quicker at about 20 pages each.Very entertaining.Good for a light read. ... Read more

20. Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel
by Truman Capote
Paperback: 208 Pages (1994-03-29)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679751823
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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P.B. Jones is the amoral, bisexual protagonist of this unfinished novel. He discovers that bed-hopping rather than literary ability is the way to get published. He discovers along the way that prayers that are answered cause more pain than those that remain ignored. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars Answered Prayers delivers
If you like gossip, bitchery and sheer wickedness this is your book.Although rambling and excruciating at the beginning, it delivers on the back end.Although knowing all about the last story, a lot of that is just made up lies.This is not Truman at his best, but it is a hilarious, nastly bit of fun.

4-0 out of 5 stars Depravity
Having read each of Capote's other publications, this work was as much a departure from previous works as the others.Seeking to write a revelation on the lives of the rich and famous in a time before gossip television shows, Capote uses real names (though often without surnames) and real situations.Though it is probably not the Capote book to give to your mother or a high school student, it is a fun read.Some in literary circles, and perhaps justifiably, have chosen to skip it.

The plot seems to loosely follow the exploits of P.B. Jones through three chapters.The first, called "Unspoiled Monsters" is the background story on Jones.The beginning and end of this chapter are clever in the way Capote brings the story full circle.The faint of heart must be warned that this chapter is permeated by sexuality.The second chatper titled "Kate McCloud" introduces us to Jones' hetero lust, Kate McCloud.The twist is obviously in the sexuality.The third chapter "La Cota Basque" does not seem to fit together as well as the previous chapters.In serves as a straight gossip rag, with little addition to the plot or characters.

The chapters are not generally cohesive, which lends to the belief that Capote did have other chapters to these book which may no longer exist.In this respect as well as some of the word choices do not seem to fit with Capote's other work.Incomplete, this is still a fun read though not on par with some of Capote's other work.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Tombstone in a Cul-de-sac
This unfinished fragment--a torso--of Capote's projected novel is an assiduous collection of gossip and tattle, narrated by the hollowest of men, a failed and talentless writer who has traded his entire life on his looks and sexual prowess.Either it is a small part of an organism which would be of enormous size and hadn't yet evolved its organs of weight, seriousness and direction, or Capote intended it to be a vast compendium of dirty stories about the rich and famous, trying to pass itself off as a portrait of How We Live Now.Its fragmentary nature probably does it a considerable favor, as the reader doesn't expect it to cohere and can appreciate its felicities (and supreme bitchiness) moment to moment. As it exists now, Answered Prayers can't really go anywhere, Capote's monument to himself a tombstone in a cul-de-sac.A bizarre reading experience, which did manage to pique my interest in his other work.Perhaps I did this backwards?

5-0 out of 5 stars a flawed gem
Capote at this stage of his life and his work was a trainwreck. But the reader can no more turn away from him than from the spectacle of that wreck. This work haunts me for what it might have been.

3-0 out of 5 stars Don't insult Proust!!
I enjoyed reading Capotes last work but I find it difficult to comprehend this book a contemporary equivalent of Proust's masterpiece, In Rememberance of Things Past. ... Read more

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