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Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote

by Truman Capote

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Contains some travel essays about places like Tangier, Spain, southern Italy, Venice, etc. So far it is captivating to read. I am on about page 70. I am deliberately not looking at the titles of any of the upcoming essays to keep them as a surprise. This author does not waste any time. In a one-page sketch, he can set up a description of the setting and the characters and give the events of a day of travelling without batting an eye. I know this author does not have many books, but regardless, it will be worth it to pursue reading more of them, based on the quality of what I have read so far in this book.
The date of composition or publication is given at the beginning of each piece. Most of them are 60 or 70 years ago. But the seem so fresh. I feel myself wanting to go to where he went to find out if anything has changed.
  libraryhermit | Oct 23, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812978919, Paperback)

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

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

“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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:46 -0400)

"Portraits and Observations is the first volume devoted solely to all the essays ever published by Truman Capote. From his travel sketches of Brooklyn, New Orleans, and Hollywood, written when he was twenty-two, to meditations about fame, fortune, and the writer's art at the peak of his career, to the brief works penned during the isolated denouement of his life, these essays provide an essential window into mid-twentieth-century America as offered by one of its canniest observers. Included are such celebrated masterpieces of narrative nonfiction as "The Muses Are Heard" and the short nonfiction novel "Hand-carved Coffins, " as well as many long-out-of-print essays, including portraits of Isak Dinesen, Mae West, Marcel Duchamp, Humphrey Bogart, and Marilyn Monroe."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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