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Conversations With Capote Paperback – August 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306809443
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306809446
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 4.9 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lawrence Grobel has been a freelance writer for more than thirty years, writing for the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Playboy, Movieline, and many other periodicals; Playboy called him “the interviewer's interviewer” after his historic conversation with Marlon Brando. Grobel has written several books, including Conversations with Capote, Talking with Michener, and The Hustons. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
It was a very amusing read.
Mamabear Cherei
Once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down.
Tim Lieder
Truman Capote was a great writer and self-promoter.
Diego Banducci

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By F. Gentile on June 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great bed-side reader. Well, maybe not, because, once you start reading, you may not be able to put it down. Truman Capote started out as a celebrated, controversial writer, became the "enfante terrible", and spent his final years as a sad, outrageous, drug addicted talk show guest, more known for his scathing celebrity, his writing glory a thing of the past. He first achieved renown for his breakthrough novel, "Other Voices, Other Rooms", which was one of the first books to dare have a homosexual undercurrent, but is probably most well known for his classic bestseller, "In Cold Blood", about the brutal slayings of a midwest family, and, just as much about their slayers, two loser drifters whom Capote unjudgingly befriended. By the time these interviews were conducted, by "Playboy" interviewer Lawrence Grobel, Capotes literary fame had preceded him, and he had become, to many, an outrageous joke. While his public deterioration was sad and shocking...he often appeared on television or at appearances "under the influence", during his more lucid times, his observations were still unpredictably entertaining. How much actual writing he did during the last ten years or so of his life is widely speculated, his ability to do so maybe ended. But, back to this book....During these conducted interviews, Capote talks about the things he has done, and those he has known... he socialized with the most famous of his day, though how much of what he said was fact or fiction has been questioned by many. To say he is sometimes mean spirited is an understatement. If he liked you, he really liked you, but, if not, oh my....watch out. You would be verbally splayed for all to see. His comments were meant to shock, and they certainly achieved their desired effect.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tim Lieder on March 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the book that makes you sad at the prospect of Truman Capote dying before he could finish his last novel, but you suspect that he didn't have to finish it since you get a lot of it from these interviews. He was one of the most fascinating figures in literary history and his insights into art, literature and celebrity are amazing.

There's a running rivalry with Norman Mailer, a dismissal of the beats, discussion of Breakfast at Tiffany's. He talks about interviewing the killers for In Cold Blood and how that led to other interviews with convicted killers. He discusses Hemmingway and leaves the reader with one of the best lines ever - "I am the man that Hemingway pretended to be." which is even more interesting when you consider Hemingway's repressed homosexuality (or accusations thereof) in light of Capote's openly gay personae that he displayed when that could get you killed.

Be warned. Once you start reading this book, you won't be able to put it down. So set time aside so you can finish it in one sitting.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Theresa Williams on April 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I own several books of conversations with authors. This is the first one I've wanted to read cover-to-cover without pausing for a breath. It's the first one I haven't been tempted to skim, looking for the best nuggets, because this one is FULL of nuggets. Capote isn't afraid to say, flat-out, what is on his mind. The chapter about his contemporaries is particularly interesting to me.

For instance, of Faulker he says: "Well, he was completely reckless. I'm not a great admirer of Faulkner. He never had the slightest influence on me at all. I like three or four short stories of his, 'That Evening Sun,' and I like one novel of his very much, called LIGHT IN AUGUST. But for the most part, he's a highly confusing, uncontrolled writer."

Which is all absolutely reasonable. Then Capote adds, "I knew Faulkner very well. He was a great friend of mine. Well, as much as you could be a friend of his, unless you were a fourteen-year-old nymphet. Then you could be a great friend!"

And Capote doesn't hold back about any of his other contemporaries, either, like Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Gertrude Stein, and more. For instance, when the interviewer expresses his respect for Bellow's HENDERSON THE RAIN KING, Capote says, "Oh no. Dull, dull."

This book also has several photographs of Capote. The quality of the photos, at least in my softcover edition, are rather poor, unfortunately, but many of them I've never seen before, such as the one with Truman showing up to a court appearance on a drunk driving charge in shorts! The caption reads: "He [the judge] was very insulted...Actually, I looked quite smart. I had a very smart pair of shorts on and a very smart jacket and shirt and sandals."

In some ways, this is like reading a great comedy routine, yet there are definitely undercurrents of anger and sadness in this book. I highly recommend it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Diego Banducci on July 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Truman Capote was a great writer and self-promoter. Both characteristics come through in these interviews with Lawrence Grobel, an interviewer who has done his homework and only intrudes when he has something to add.

The book stands up well on its own merits, but will prove more enjoyable if you read some backgound material first, notably (in order of priority) "Music for Chameleons," Gerald Clarke's first-rate biography, and "In Cold Blood."

After you've read it, you may want to watch A & E's excellent documentary on Capote's life.
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