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Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel (1986)

by Truman Capote

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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798619,829 (3.47)9
As it follows the career of a writer of uncertain parentage and omnivorous erotic tastes, Answered Prayers careens from a louche bar in Tangiers to a banquette at La Cote Basque, from literary salons to highpriced whorehouses. It takes in calculating beauties and sadistic husbands along with such real-life supporting characters as Colette, the Duchess of Windsor, Montgomery Clift, and Tallulah Bankhead. Above all, this malevolently funny book displays Capote at his most relentlessly observant and murderously witty.… (more)
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English (5)  Spanish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
El protagonista de la novela, ingenioso, encantador, bisexual, absolutamente amoral logró escaparse de un orfanato a los trece años, aprendió el oficio de masajista y se las ingenió para convertirse en un pícaro moderno y codearse con los ricos y los famosos, desempeñando unas veces el papel de confidente, otras el de bufón y, para los lectores de esta novela, el de divertidísimo cronista de las disparatadas vidas de la jet-set. Este libro es, en buena parte, un roman à clef y, a veces, ni siquiera necesita claves, pues por sus páginas desfilan junto a retratos tenuemente disfrazados de escritores como Tennessee Williams, actrices como Greta Garbo, millonarios como Niarchos personajes reales, como las inefables Mrs. Mathau y Mrs. Cooper, cuyos diálogos sobre la vida y costumbres (preferentemente sexuales) de otros miembros de la alta sociedad están reproducidos con cruel fidelidad.
  ArchivoPietro | Oct 24, 2020 |
Every novel is a form of catharsis in one way or another. It's the deal we make when we buy a book: if the author packages their woes, hopes and gripes well and in an entertaining way, then we will patiently listen and even enjoy ourselves. With all the reader oriented writing Truman did in his career, in the final analysis it's clear that he ultimately did not understand for whom he was writing. In Answered Prayers we see the world through Truman's eyes as he must have experienced life on earth from his humble beginnings up until his humble death. In between he became fascinated with the sordid lives and lifestyles of the rich and famous. Answered Prayers reads in some ways as Martin Luther's accusation and is about the same size.

Through Answered Prayers Truman wanted to establish himself as the modern day Proust and he sincerely believed it was his masterpiece. Instead we read page after page about the diversification of vices throughout the 20th century. Almost every sentence demonstrates that Truman saw life through the eyes of inanimate objects, amongst which he counted all his living 'friends'. With great ease he rattles off litanies of then well known names and luxury brands, most of which nobody will have heard of today. Another great mistake I feel since, unlike Proust, Truman immediately dates his work and made it instantly ephemeral.

Granted the writing is as usual of a high quality and extremely mellifluousness, but that doesn't save the work in the least. How much do we really care about the main character, and by proxy about Truman himself? Do we believe everything he says? Do we care if we believe him or not?

In the end the book attempts to answer the one question Truman tried to answer all of his life for himself: "With all these unspoiled monsters, why am I the unlovable one?" ( )
  TheCriticalTimes | Jan 4, 2013 |
At first I was nervous - afraid that Answered Prayers would prove to be a queeny catalogue - yawn...

The queer narrator's voice is established promptly, skillfully. All too quickly I found myself carried along by the delightful prose and by the beguiling PB Jones. It is a joy just to read a page, maybe that's why it just doesn't seem to matter that this is an unfinished novel.

Here's some of my favourite bits:

"As a matter of fact, I am writing this on YMCA stationery in a Manhattan YMCA, where I have been existing the last month in a viewless second-floor cell. I'd prefer the sixth floor - so if I decided to climb out the window, it would make a vital difference."

"Perhaps what I wanted in the way of a wife was the city itself, my happiness there, my sense of inevitable fame, fortune. Alas, what I married was a girl."

"...her parents came to visit us: a pair of Swedish brutes from Minnesota, a mammoth twosome twice the size of their daughter."

"Mr Boatwright was the fiction editor of a women's fashion magazine...He came to my attention, or rather I came to his, when one day he spoke to our writing class. I was sitting in the front row, and I could tell, by the way his chilly crotch-watching eyes kept gravitating toward me, what was spinning around in his pretty curly-grey head."

"The editor, with a sleepy gesture meant to disguise cobra alertness, motioned me toward it (his own chair, as I later discovered, contained a little pillow with an embroidered inscription: MOTHER)."

And I'm only seven pages in. You get the picture... this is a really rewarding read if you love skillful writing. ( )
  whipbird | Aug 28, 2011 |
scandal, gossip, high society, socialites, hustler, gay, homosexual, bisexual, fiction, capote, truman capte, unfinished work, final novel, scandalous, celebrities ( )
  MsDLB | Jul 6, 2010 |
For years after Capote published In Cold Blood, he told everyone he was working on a masterpiece that would rival Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. It would be called Answered Prayers, and it would incorporate everything Capote knew about writing both fiction and nonfiction.

Unfortunately, though he thought about the work obsessively, he only wrote three chapters. Those chapters are what make up this book. And they leave you positively hungering for more. Answered Prayers is a roman a clef where the names have been changed, but certainly not to protect the innocent. I don't think there's an innocent character in this book. They're all obsessed with sex or money or power. And sometimes the name change is the only thing fictional about the character.

This book is a perfect companion read to Capote by Gerald Clarke because in it you get the facts that form the basis of the barely disguised fiction in this one.

This is a must read for fans of Capote. But it will leave you wishing he'd spent more time writing and less time boozing and pilling his way to the grave. ( )
3 vote jennyo | Oct 7, 2006 |
Showing 5 of 5
"It was the transparent identities in [the final chapter] that did Capote in. Even to this day it is fashionable in fashionable circles to take the line that poor Truman lost his marbles ... it is clear that Capote had the raw material for a best-selling nonfiction book and should have written it as just that."

"The trouble with 'Answered Prayers' is that Capote at this stage was not amenable to the demands of nonfiction. He was out of control in his life and in his art. ... Nonetheless, out of this conflict Capote could occasionally create art. Between the cloudbursts of malice there are flashes of prose in 'Answered Prayers' that bring the aching reminder of a more whole writer, prose that makes the heart sing and the narrative fly."
added by jasbro | editThe New York Times, Tina Brown (Sep 13, 1987)

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Truman Capoteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Cayatte, Telier HenriqueDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Demarty, PierreTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hernández, Ángel LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luna, José LuisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schlüter, MargaretTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones. Saint Teresa
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Somewhere in this world there exists an exceptional philosopher named Florie Rotondo.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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'"Unspoiled Monsters," "Kate McCloud," and "La Côte Basque" were originally published in Esquire' T.p. verso
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Wikipedia in English (2)

As it follows the career of a writer of uncertain parentage and omnivorous erotic tastes, Answered Prayers careens from a louche bar in Tangiers to a banquette at La Cote Basque, from literary salons to highpriced whorehouses. It takes in calculating beauties and sadistic husbands along with such real-life supporting characters as Colette, the Duchess of Windsor, Montgomery Clift, and Tallulah Bankhead. Above all, this malevolently funny book displays Capote at his most relentlessly observant and murderously witty.

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"Before his passing, the author had already begun referring to Answered Prayers, for which he received at advance in 1966, as a 'posthumous novel.' On the Dick Cavett Show in 1971, he said, 'either I'm going to kill it, or it's going to kill me.'" -- Huffington Post, 11/1/2012

"Truman Capote was the darling of an inner circle he called his swans—Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Lee Radziwill, C. Z. Guest, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli. He was their baby wizard, their bitchy sister, their father confessor. They told him who had slept between the Porthault sheets and where all the bodies were buried. The day he published a fraction of what he had learned in their company in “La Côte Basque, 1965,” he created a new art form: social suicide."  Vanity Fair, April 1988.
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