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... enter Norma Jeane as Mr Truman Capote]Norma Jeane:                           Enter chorus.                           I am my own chorus.                           I think of my chorus as Mr Truman Capote.                           He was a good friend, he told me the truth ...

Good Fibs

Andrew O’Hagan: Truman Capote, 2 April 1998

Truman CapoteIn which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career 
by George Plimpton.
Picador, 498 pp., £20, February 1998, 0 330 36871 0
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... up with the brewery toxins in the office hum. He took back the key. Another of Cerf’s specials, Truman Capote, a young goldfish new-swimming into the scene, remembered Faulkner coming over to his place for a party. The elder Southern gentleman had hoped for a bath. Capote said fine. After fifty minutes he started to ...

Sad Stories

Adam Begley, 5 January 1989

CapoteA Biography 
by Gerald Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 632 pp., £16.95, July 1988, 0 241 12549 9
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Jean Stafford: A Biography 
by David Roberts.
Chatto, 494 pp., £16.95, August 1988, 0 7011 3010 5
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... The first page of the feature is dominated by a large photograph of a superbly arrogant Truman Capote – 22 years old, tiny, but potent. On the next page is a photograph (somewhat smaller) of Jean Stafford – 31 years old, severe, distant, possibly beautiful. On the very last page is a small shot of Gore Vidal, who at the preposterous age of ...

Late Capote

Julian Barnes, 19 February 1981

Music for Chameleons 
by Truman Capote.
Hamish Hamilton, 262 pp., £7.95, February 1981, 0 241 10541 2
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... vanity and publisher’s lethargy combine to make a writer look much younger than he is. Truman Capote’s portrait does the opposite, and for a particular reason. Study recent press photographs of Mr Capote, or those published last year in Andy Warhol’s Exposures, and what do you see? A plump, jowly figure ...

In His Pink Negligée

Colm Tóibín: The Ruthless Truman Capote, 21 April 2005

The Complete Stories 
by Truman Capote.
Random House, 400 pp., $24.95, September 2004, 0 679 64310 9
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Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote 
edited by Gerald Clarke.
Random House, 487 pp., $27.95, September 2004, 0 375 50133 9
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... or, as he put it, ‘the goddam Swiss’: they were, he wrote, ‘the ugliest race alive’. Truman Capote, in his letters, made many judgments. He recommended the young and unpublished Patricia Highsmith to Yaddo in 1948. In 1949 he recommended Angus Wilson’s first book to Cecil Beaton. That same year, however, when Arthur Miller won the Pulitzer ...

A Conversation with Gore Vidal

Thomas Powers: Meeting Gore Vidal, 31 July 2014

... is pleased with himself, not overweening or arrogant but just happy, proud, at peace. He mimicked Truman Capote describing Jackie Kennedy screwing a big Negro chauffeur while her children whimpered in the back seat – ‘Not a word of it true, mind you; he just can’t help himself; he has to tell lies. Which is why I’m suing him for libel. I don’t ...

Many Andies

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 October 1997

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes 
by Andy Warhol.
Bulfinch Press, 35 pp., $10.95, May 1997, 0 8212 2319 4
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Style, Style, Style 
by Andy Warhol.
Bulfinch Press, 30 pp., $10.95, May 1997, 0 8212 2320 8
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Who is Andy Warhol? 
edited by Colin MacCabe, Mark Francis and Peter Wollen.
BFI, 162 pp., £40, May 1997, 9780851705880
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All Tomorrow’s Parties: Billy Name’s Photographs of Andy Warhol’s Factory 
by Billy Name.
frieze, 144 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 9527414 1 5
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The Last Party: Studio 54, Disco and the Culture of the Night 
by Anthony Haden-Guest.
Morrow, 404 pp., $25, April 1996, 9780688141516
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... estrangement. A man in a wig in a season in hell. ‘A sphinx without a secret,’ said Truman Capote; ‘the Ecce Homo of modern exhibitionism,’ said Stephen Spender. For his own part, Warhol was intensely reasonable: ‘I just want to be a machine,’ he said. There were many Andies: the Andy who brought cruelty back into art; the Andy who ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flirtation, Seduction and Betrayal, 5 September 2002

... on the cover. Farndale makes up for (nearly) everything, however, with a terrific anecdote about Truman Capote and Marlon Brando. CAPOTE: You tell him about yourself, and slowly spin your web so that he tells you everything. That’s how I trapped Marlon. BRANDO: The little bastard spent half the night telling me ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Tweeting at an Execution, 6 October 2011

... admirable and loony tweets, I remembered older American ways of recording death in such habitats. Truman Capote drank whisky and cried all the way on the plane from Kansas to New York, having just watched his two friends, the killers Perry and Hickock, being murdered in cold blood by the state. Kenneth Tynan, reviewing the book ...

You are the we of me

Joyce Carol Oates: The Autobiography of Carson McCullers, 2 September 1999

Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers 
edited by Carlos Dews.
Wisconsin, 256 pp., £19.95, September 1999, 0 299 16440 3
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... In the Forties and early Fifties, such disparate, talented young writers as Carson McCullers, Truman Capote and Flannery O’Connor were perceived as kindred; there was a highly publicised vogue of American Southern Gothic writing, abetted by photographs of the very camp Truman Capote reclining on a ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: How to Type like a Man, 10 May 2007

... likes of Paul Auster, Bram Stoker, William Burroughs, David Cronenberg, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, J.G. Ballard and Hunter S. Thompson: in other words, men. He says more than once that he’s less interested in typewriters as machines (once upon a time the word also referred to the people, usually women, who used the ...

Ozick’s No

John Lanchester, 4 February 1988

The Messiah of Stockholm 
by Cynthia Ozick.
Deutsch, 144 pp., £9.95, November 1987, 9780233981420
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The Birds of the Innocent Wood 
by Deirdre Madden.
Faber, 147 pp., £9.95, January 1988, 0 571 14880 8
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The Coast of Bohemia 
by Zdena Tomin.
Century, 201 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 09 168490 0
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... of her speculations and evaluations seem to say that. A characteristic judgment is that made on Truman Capote, whose work is full of the idea that life is style, and that shape and mood are what matter in and out of fiction. That is the famous lie on which aesthetics feeds the centuries. Life is not style, but what we do: Deed. And so is ...


Jay McInerney: The Great American Novelists, 23 April 1987

... constituted the library. As a boy, I became acquainted with Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal and Truman Capote as talk-show guests. The TV screen was their boxing-ring. Literally so, on occasion, for Mailer, who had studied his Hemingway. Vidal was the sophisticate – dry, erudite, condescending to an America which he visited semi-annually from ...

Your mission is to get the gun

Theo Tait: Raoul Moat, 31 March 2016

You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] 
by Andrew Hankinson.
Scribe, 204 pp., £12.99, February 2016, 978 1 922247 91 9
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... When​ Truman Capote was looking for a news story to turn into what he called a ‘non-fiction novel’, he was initially concerned that such an event might date very quickly, that it might not have the ‘timeless quality’ he was looking for. Eventually, he settled on the killing of a farming family in Kansas, telling himself that ‘the human heart being what it is, murder was a theme not likely to darken and yellow with time ...

Not Enough Delilahs

Andrew O’Hagan: Lillian Ross, 4 July 2019

by Lillian Ross.
NYRB, 219 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 68137 315 7
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... crackpotSusan Sontag – nobodyNora Ephron – liarOther hand:Kenneth Tynan – creepTruman Capote – leechGeorge Plimpton – slickTom Wolfe – talentlessPhilip Roth – jerkIt was a mercy she only had two hands. To be fair, there were some men she liked. They tended to be showbusiness people. She liked Robin Williams, Charlie Chaplin, Tommy Lee ...

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