It was a project Capote kept under close wraps. Capote described the novel as a. Capote described the novel as a Proustian bildungsroman of a contemporary nature, a kite string of characters drawn from real life. Capote, the great dissembler, had his Random House editor, Joe Fox, believing that as deadlines passed, he was progressing steadily on the book. Why, he was over half done.
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Keith, then living at the Pierre hotel, sent the maid downstairs for a copy. Plaza apartment and at his beach house in Sagaponack, Long Island. It was the first installment of Answered Prayers, the novel that Truman believed would be his masterpiece. He had been a literary darling since the age of 23, when his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was published.
But trying to write Answered Prayers, and its eventual fallout, destroyed him. By , after several unsuccessful stays at dry-out centers such as Hazelden and Smithers, Capote seemed to have given up not only on the book but on life. Abandoned by most of his society friends, locked in a brutal, self-destructive relationship with a middle-aged, married, former bank manager from Long Island, Truman was worn out.
Or heartbroken. Truman had recorded in his journals the outline for the entire book, which would comprise seven chapters. Truman claimed in his journals he had actually written it first. But was the novel ever completed? They were very, very good.
Random House wanted to recoup something of the advances it had paid Truman—even if that involved publishing an incomplete manuscript. That deadline passed like all the others with no manuscript being delivered. Plaza, with its panoramic view of Manhattan and the United Nations. A friend, the set designer Oliver Smith, noted that the U.
They looked through drawers and closets and desks, avoiding the three taxidermic snakes Truman kept in the apartment, one of them, a cobra, rearing to strike. The men scoured the guest bedroom, at the end of the hallway—a tiny, peach-colored room with a daybed, a desk, a phone, and lavender taffeta curtains.
Joanne Carson claims that Truman had confided to her that the manuscript was tucked away in a safe-deposit box in a bank in California—maybe Wells Fargo—and that he had handed her a key to it the morning before his death.
But he declined to tell her which bank held the box. But the thing is, at that time, I never saw the actual manuscript. And then it occurred to me, later, just before I nodded off to sleep, maybe he had made the whole thing up. He was such a wonderful, wonderful actor. I actually had it in my hands. Now, nearly 30 years later, the questions remain: What happened to the rest of Answered Prayers? Had Truman destroyed it, simply lost it, or hidden it, or had he never written it at all?
Almost everything in it is true, and it has. I have a cast of thousands. He also wrote part of a screenplay that year with the title Answered Prayers, about a manipulative southern gigolo and his unhappy paramour. Though the screenplay was apparently abandoned, the idea took shape as a lengthy, Proustian novel. The title is taken from St. Begun in , it would consume six years of his life—most of it spent living in Kansas, a world away from the New York society he loved and from the city where he felt he belonged.
In the story Capote revealed their gossip, the secrets, the betrayals—even a murder. Regis hotel. It was where the swans gathered to lunch and to see and be seen. In the story a literary hustler and bisexual prostitute named P. A much-married-and-divorced society matron, she has been stood up by the Duchess of Windsor, so she invites Jonesy to join her for lunch at one of the coveted tables at the front of the restaurant.
If she had looked in the mirror, she would have seen Slim Keith, who had been well and often married, to film director Howard Hawks and film and theatrical producer Leland Hayward before wedding the English banker Sir Kenneth Keith. Advertisement The story unfolds as a long, gossipy conversation—a monologue, really—delivered by Lady Coolbirth over countless flutes of Roederer Cristal champagne. Lady Coolbirth grouses about having got stuck at a dinner next to Princess Margaret, who bored her into semi-unconsciousness.
As for Gloria Vanderbilt, Capote presents her as empty-headed and vain, especially when she fails to recognize her first husband, who stops by her table to say hello. P had only one fault: she was perfect; otherwise, she was perfect. Worried that his wife will arrive at any moment, Dillon scrubs the sheet in the bathtub, on his hands and knees, and then attempts to dry it by baking it in the oven before replacing it on the bed. Babe was horrified and heartbroken. She was seriously ill at the time with terminal lung cancer, and, instead of blaming her husband for the infidelity, she blamed Truman for putting it into print.
Sir John Richardson, the acclaimed Picasso biographer and Vanity Fair contributing editor, saw her often during the last months of her life. Terrified that he will kick her out, Ann takes advantage of a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood and loads a shotgun, which she keeps beside her bed. She fatally shoots David, claiming that she mistook him for an intruder. Her mother-in-law, Hilda Hopkins Elsie Woodward , desperate to avoid a scandal, pays off the police, and an inquest never brings charges against Ann for murder.
On October 10, , just a few days before the November Esquire appeared, Ann Woodward was found dead. Lionel Twain, an eccentric connoisseur of crime. It was supposed to be great fun, but Truman found working on Murder by Death to be grueling. The reviews were not kind.
Love, Truman. But what really broke his heart was the reaction from the Paleys. Screwing up his courage, Truman phoned Bill Paley, who took the call. Then a terrible thing happened: the magazine was thrown away. My wife is very ill. Truman was not invited to the funeral. She was asked by Clay Felker, the editor of New York magazine, to interview him. I went to Hollywood to interview him.
He called her. He was the most surprised and shocked person you can imagine, and he would call to ask me—torment me—about what people in New York had said about him.
But Truman was their exception, because he was so amusing. In a way, Truman could be very seductive, and he was a good listener. He was sympathetic. He seduced both the men and the women.
Ostracizing Truman became the thing to do. After all, he was fun and interesting to talk to, and brilliant. And then, of course, the terrible fear that he could never write another word again. It was all downhill from then on. Jones the P. Katherine Anne Porter makes a disguised appearance, as does Tennessee Williams, both in cruel caricatures. His impoverished past, Truman later confided, was borrowed from the life story of Perry Smith, the dark-haired, dark-eyed murderer Truman came to know intimately while writing In Cold Blood.
In a sense, P. Schlesinger, who became her first husband. I was reading it while Truman was floating in the pool on a raft. Truman was a brilliant raconteur. And he loved doing it—he was a show-off.
In fact, I have a kind of contempt for most of them. Did all those people think I was there just to entertain them? In addition to his alcohol abuse, he was partaking heavily of cocaine. He fell in love with Studio 54, the quintessential 70s disco, which opened in April of Boys with boys, girls with girls, girls with boys, blacks and whites, capitalists and Marxists, Chinese and everything else—all one big mix.
His weight ballooned, drowning his once delicate features in alcoholic bloat. And suddenly, I realized, Christ! I had to take him outside and gently put him into a cab. We just forgot about one another.
It was pitiful. Heartbreaking, because there was nothing you could do. He really wanted to kill himself. It was a slow and painful suicide. Stas left me alone with them. Finally, they left. Truman entreated Liz Smith to persuade Vidal to drop his lawsuit, which he refused to do. When Truman asked me to do the deposition for him, I never knew anything about depositions.
I was very upset that he lost. I felt it was my fault. Truman had no recollection of what had occurred on The Stanley Siegel Show, but when he read the press accounts he was horrified.
Capote’s Swan Dive
Keith, then living at the Pierre hotel, sent the maid downstairs for a copy. Plaza apartment and at his beach house in Sagaponack, Long Island. It was the first installment of Answered Prayers, the novel that Truman believed would be his masterpiece. He had been a literary darling since the age of 23, when his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was published. But trying to write Answered Prayers, and its eventual fallout, destroyed him.
Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel
History[ edit ] The title of the book refers to a quote that Capote chose as an epigraph : "More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones". According to Joseph M. This final deadline was not kept. The book is a somewhat sordid tale of the mixing of high and low social classes , drawn from his experiences as best friend and confidant to the most prominent female socialites of the era and their husbands.
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