Truman Capote, Enfant Terrible
Written like a New Yorker profile, this book, by the author of the definitive volume on the films of Merchant Ivory, who also has had access to Capote’s unpublished papers, studies Truman Capote in a new way: through his early years and works.
There have now been two recent and acclaimed films on Capote. Why the current interest? It is perhaps because Truman Capote, among the great American authors, represents the big unanswered question: What if? He was also completely different from the rest. As a Southern writer, Capote is most resistant to being typed as 'a local.' A polished and detached observer, he was ultimately placeless - like his famous character Holly Golightly, Truman was 'lways travelling,' unwilling or unable to put down roots. He had a strange relationship with his beautiful but immature mother (Capote’s surname was originally Persons), about whom he would talk in his sleep in later life. He was a prodigy, whose career received a boost from a series of rich and talented girls. Carson McCullers gave Capote early help in publishing his work. As this book shows, the trajectory of their careers was not dissimilar.
Truman Capote, Enfant Terrible, is a grand overview of a complex and fascinating author: one who remained a child in appearance and behaviour; a Southerner who strayed from the South; a celebrity while living in the most solitary realm of his vast imagination.