December 29, 2004

Too Brief a Treat: The Letters of Truman Capote
Edited by Gerald Clarke

Who’s Who – Truman Capote was one of our country’s best and worst writers – at times creating pure and memorable prose; at others, languishing in bathtubs of bubbles and gossip. These letters were by no means written with any high literary purpose in mind; rather, they’re not unlike the letters many others write – brief telegrams hinting at juicy tales, short notes skimming over private dramas. But Capote was writing to and about everyone from Jackie Kennedy to Perry Smith, from Harper Lee to Andy Warhol. The book reminded me of a dinner party in Washington, D.C., several years ago. My friends and I started playing the question-and-answer game, “Who would you like to know if you could know anyone in the world?” My friend Lisa Tate offered the evening’s most whimsical answer: “Truman Capote – because then I’d know everyone else, too.”


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