From Publishers Weekly
Considering Truman Capote's fabled social life, one would think that his private letters would be dripping with juicy gossip. Indeed, with correspondents and friends that included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lee Radziwill, Cecil Beaton, Christopher Isherwood, David O. Selznick, Tennessee Williams, Audrey Hepburn and Richard Avedon, these bright, energetic missives do include an occasional tasty tidbit. But as candid as Capote can be, one ultimately gets the sense that the author always knew his letters would be read by a wider audience some day, and rarely does Capote express less than bubbling enthusiasm and childlike devotion to his correspondents. It's up to Clarke, Capote's biographer, to fill in the occasionally sordid blanks, which he does in chapter intros and extensive footnotes. Much more profound than any gossip is the humor, sensitivity and ambition with which Capote seems to have approached every experience in his life. and his incredible discipline and passion for writing, spending hours sequestered in some of the world's most glamorous locations, composing the stories and books. This entertaining collection gives us a firsthand account of Capote's journey as he comes into his own as an artist, charting his gradual but inevitable transformation into a literary and society superstar. Readers who want to know more about the real Capote will pick up the author's books (which include In Cold Blood
and Breakfast at Tiffany's
) and continue to revel in his wise and whimsical prose. B&w photos not seen by PW
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Was Truman Capote (who died in 1984) a major or a minor writer? The debate continues, but soaring above the fray comes this collection of his letters, which will be of keen interest to readers who simply appreciate his fiction (see our starred review of his Collected
Stories on p.58) and his standard-setting "new nonfiction" book, In Cold Blood
(1966), and choose to leave the debate of major or minor status to others. What matters here is that Capote was a man of language and passion, and the two appear in tandem in the correspondence he penned from adolescence onward. Capote's untrammeled personality fairly falls off the pages of these letters, and rather than being irritating, his disregard of reticence is especially poignant in this day of sterile e-mailing. Ideal for devotees to dip into here and there instead of reading from start to finish. Brad HooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved