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Truman Capote by George Plimpton
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Truman Capote (1997)

by George Plimpton

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335251,139 (3.86)14
Using oral biography, a technique that perfectly matches the style of his subject, George Plimpton blends the voices of Capote's lovers, haters, acquaintances, and colleagues into a highly readable narrative. Here we are present for the entire span of Capote's life: his Southern childhood and 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: Katherine Graham, Lauren Bacall, Gore Vidal, Joan Didion, William Styron, Kurt Vonnegut, Norman Mailer, Lee Radziwill, John Huston, John Knowles, William F. Buckley, Jr., and dozens of others.… (more)
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An oral history of the man who befriended and betrayed socialites right and left, by those he befriended and betrayed. Wonderful slice of mid-century America. Loved this work. ( )
  sonyau | Jul 14, 2009 |
I found this book to be very gripping. It was a page turner. It was an oral biography. Various people talked about Capote, from his childhood in Alabama to his death in California. Some people were obviously self-serving, or trying to bury a hatchet, or out to lunch, but it was still interesting, because they said as much about themselves as they did about Capote. It also let you see what type of people he was surrounded by.

It provided information and context about Capote, without being too heavy or detail oriented. It gave you emotional as well as factual information, and opinion. Sometimes you could see the same event described by multiple people.

I have been interested in Capote since seeing the fabulous movie, Infamous, which this book was the basis for. I wanted enough information about him to read his his stories and books about him, and understand the nuances, but I didn't want to get bogged down in the detail. This book was perfect for that.

The anecdotes were arranged in chronological order so they seemed to tell the story of his life. They talked about his early writing successes, his involvement with the Kansas situation, the black and white ball, his flitting with the jet-set, his fall from grace with them when he published their gossip, his dabbling with Broadway and Hollywood, his lack of writing, his boozing and drugging, and his death.

The only lack seemed to me was the lack of explanation about his relationship with Jack Dunphy. Truman seemed to be alone, but he was also with his lover Jack Dunphy. Jack would be there but not around, and the book never explained why ? Also why Jack never seemed to try to save him. ( )
  FicusFan | Nov 11, 2008 |
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