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Answered Prayers Paperback – March 29, 1994

3.4 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gift from an unbridled genius. Exciting...irresistible...should be cherished as top-flight work from a master." -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

Although Truman Capote's last novel was unfinished at the time of his death, its surviving portions offer a devastating group portrait of the high and low society of his time.

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 high-priced 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.

"Prose that makes the heart sing and the narrative fly... inspired." -- The New York Times Book Review

From the Back Cover

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (March 29, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679751823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679751823
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1925 and was raised in various parts of the south, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. By the age of fourteen he had already started writing short stories, some of which were published. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. Following his spell with the New Yorker, Capote spent two years on a Louisiana farm where he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He lived, at one time or another, in Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies, and travelled in Russia and the Orient. He is the author of many highly praised books, including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949), The Grass Harp (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), In Cold Blood (1965), which immediately became the centre of a storm of controversy on its publication, Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published by Penguin. Truman Capote died in August 1984.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This dazzlingly scandalous unfinished novel could only have come from the pen of Truman Capote. He pokes fun at world famous celebrities, some of whom P.B. Jones, an aspiring writer of great promise, mixes it up with. In his adventures, Jones also falls under the influence of con men, drug and alcohol abusers and those of ill and near ill repute.

Forced to support himself financially, P.B. Jones must temporarily resort to hustling and other slightly more socially acceptable activities. Jones learns about a low-life, but physically attractive, young woman who marries, then allegedly murders, a naive son of a millionaire, only to get away with the crime because his parents do not want to blacken their name. Jones, himself, is requested to get involved in kidnapping and homicide by a woman who had married into a monied family. One woman, who fancies herself an animal lover, gains some noteriety by shooting a man who kills a white leopard.

Mr. Capote supposedly lost the friendships of a number of prominent people whom he so casually reveals conversations that were never meant to be displayed on the printed page. While some may deplore Mr. Capote's disloyalty to these individuals, it makes for some dishy fun reading about their ex-husbands, their scandalous love affairs, and other such dirty laundry, including badly defiled bed sheets. Such is the down side of fame.

_Answered Prayers_ is oftentimes very funny (the portion starring Dorothy Parker and Tallulah Bankhead is a scream) and sometimes very, very naughty. This book occasionally borders on the pornographic. I doubt very much that if Mr. Capote had completed his supposed magnum opus that the critics would have considered it great art. There is nothing in these pages that suggests any such potential. But as fly on the wall eaves dropping and "fictonalized" reportage (as what one might read in The Star or in Cindy Adams's columns) it is never boring.
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Format: Paperback
To read this odd book is to get a real look at Truman Capote at the end of his life. Capote was vain, bitchy, narcissistic, but alas the profoundly weird old queen was fascinating. He was truely unique, he made himself a superstar, he willed it so, this man was nakedly ambitious, he makes Trump look like a piker. This book ruined him and probably led to increased alcoholism, that ultimatly caused his death at sixty. When he wrote an excert of this book in a top magazine of the day, he became persona non grata among the brahman class of New York. This was Capote's own personal hell. It shows his arrogance and narcissism that he did not see that a book like this would make these people close ranks and ostracize him, he was stunned that they stopped taking his calls and dropped him from their party lists, they broke his heart and frankly I'm sure the parties were considerable less amusing with Truman gone. In this book you see in Capote a really unhappy man, that relished in the misfortune of others, but having said that I do find his dish very interesting, what does that say about me, lol. I believe that after he became a sensation after the great In Cold Blood, he really was paralized, he knew people expected another book of singular greatness, I think this absolutely destroyed him and he was so desperate that he conceived this ill advised book, it makes you understand why Harper Lee and J.D. Salinger never published a book after their masterpieces, Truman should have looked to his childhood friend Lee as an example, but he could not resist the spotlight and he wanted that feeling of adulation again. I recommend this book, it is not Capote's best work, of course, but it is something of a memoir and you get an unflinching look at this complex man.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although "Answered Prayers" can be read as dated since most of it's "characters" live in the 1960's and 1970's, there is still marvelous prose and stories that pique the interest. Capote had promised to complete several short stories for this tome, but this collection contains only three. All of them are marvels to read, but the last, "La Cote Basque", is a stinging expose of the New York Socialite clique. Not only does Capote mention real celebrities, but he also exposes the deepest and darkest secrets of high society with a thin veil. It's no wonder he was ostracized from this egregious group. Some of the events he describes are beyond scandalous, yet witty and viciously funny. He somehow manages to bring the `so-called' social deviants to the same level as the most respected socialites, making it clear that money is the only difference.

The Editor's Note is the most intriguing part of the book, as it describes how Capote managed to promise to produce these stories for years without delivering and obtained millions from the publishers, enabling him to live with a high level of social activity. He was a celebrity as well as an author and a clever, if not conniving man. The biggest tragedy is that so many stories will never be read due to his early alcoholic induced death. Still, these three stories are inspired gems.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Answered Prayers" is written as a collection of loosely connected short stories, some of them better than others. Because the book has no ending, the stories kind of hang in the air by themselves, leaving fragmented memories. I thought about Hemingway's collections of stories when reading "Answered Prayers". Observations of life in different colors... The language is superb. One cannot help thinking what the end of the book could have been if Capote cared to finish it.
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