Truman capote portraits and observations
Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote by Truman CapoteNorman Mailer, not one to praise his fellow writers gratuitously, once called Truman Capote (1924-1984) the most perfect writer of my generation. Mailer was on to something, and this anthology shows this versatile and engaging writer at his pre-IN COLD BLOOD best. Mostly from the Fifties, Capotes observations (some essay-length, at least one a full-length book) and portraits (biographical sketches of celebrities) show very well Capotes amazing gifts as a stylist and hard-nosed reporter of facts. Here you can read Capotes portrait of Marlon Brando (The Duke in His Domain, for ESQUIRE magazine), scrupulously accurate yet so excoriating Capote allegedly had to hide from Brando the rest of his life (it has also just recently been released as a standalone from Penguin).
This carefully curated, deckle-edged 2003 hardcover (purple cover)* has gone up in price since its release five years ago, but not by much. That is the one that contains THE MUSES ARE HEARD. Used copies are relatively easy to find -- especially considering that PORTRAITS AND OBSERVATIONS is an irreplaceable summa of Capote joys inside one cover. After IN COLD BLOOD, the novella Breakfast at Tiffanys, and the breakthrough first novel OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS, this book is the place to go for Capote, especially if you want to see much of the best of his non-fiction. Also recommended for those with a serious interest in Capote: Gerald Clarkes Capote, still the best cradle-to-grave literary bio in this reviewers opinion.
* The reason Im awarding this volume (Capote on cover) three stars and not four is that the later version (violet background, disembodied torso) has the same name, but nearly 80 pages more text.
Thank you! He has been dead for nearly a quarter of a century, and Capote would be chagrined to find that, yes, few people read, and fewer read him now than in his heyday, despite two recent films devoted to his life circa In Cold Blood. This well-made selection of essays, excerpts and interviews memorializes the Capote who was at once more and less than the careerist literary journalist of that era—the bon vivant who fed himself baked potatoes stuffed with caviar; the haunted romantic who declared that the most beautiful word and the most dangerous word in English were one and the same: love. Capote is largely remembered today as a personality, a celebrity and Tonight Show fixture, but he was a brilliant writer first and always. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again. Be the first to discover new talent!
In the courtyard there was an angel of black stone, and its angel head rose above giant elephant leaves; the stark glass angel eyes, bright as the bleached blue of sailor eyes, stared upward. One observed the angel from an intricate green balcony — mine, this balcony, for I lived beyond in three old white rooms, rooms with elaborate wedding-cake ceilings, wide sliding doors, tall French windows. On warm evenings, with these windows open, conversation was pleasant there, tuneful, for wind rustled the interior like fan-breeze made by ancient ladies. And on such warm evenings the town is quiet. Only voices: family talk weaving on an ivy-curtained porch; a barefoot woman humming as she rocks a sidewalk chair, lulling to sleep a baby she nurses quite publicly; the complaining foreign tongue of an irritated lady who, sitting on her balcony, plucks a fryer, the loosened feathers floating from her hands, slipping into air, sliding lazily downward. One morning — it was December, I think, a cold Sunday with a sad gray sun — I went up through the Quarter to the old market, where at that time of year there are exquisite winter fruits, sweet satsumas, twenty cents a dozen, and winter flowers, Christmas poinsettia and snow japonica.
Contains some travel essays about places like Tangier, Spain, southern Italy, Venice, etc. So far it is captivating to read. I am on about page I am deliberately not looking at the titles of any Fontana Vecchia was one of the easier Capote writings for me to read when his book first came out.