Thursday, 19 February 2015

Buy Music for Chameleons and read Handcarved Coffins, a friend urged in Chicago in 1981, during a year of making friends and influencing nothing (that I knew of yet). That was my introduction to Truman Capote. Then I read In Cold Blood, then other semi-fictions, later The Complete Stories, and lastly saw the film with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who acted Capote perhaps as well as Capote himself.

Truman Capote was born Truman Streckfus Persons. He'd been trying to get the world into a book since he was eleven. Now and then he succeeds, and it brings balm in the vast unsatisfactions of his life. The novel Answered Prayers was to be his Proust but, despite his telling everyone about the mountainous manuscript on his desk, it was barely begun when he died.

Some of his Proust he had already written, like the story about making Christmas cakes with his version of Proust's grandmother, a much older cousin everyone called Miss Sook, and her rat terrier Queenie. Or maybe, across his stories, and fiction/nonfiction, he'd already written all of it.

You may want to dislike some of his characters but they're disarming and vanish without trace. He gives them enormous attention: their eyes their legs their hair their mouths; they often have his own short body. You can feel him slough it off with a fine-turned sentence, a well-wrought tale.
He would tell Anna these stories, go home and go to sleep. His dreams were clear blue.
You can't quite feel for him; he won't let you; but you have to admire his gall. And your dreams will be clear blue too.
At this moment the telephone rang. And rang. And it was ringing so loud he was sure all the hotel could hear. An army would be pounding at his door. So he pushed his face into the pillow, covered his ears with his hands, and thought: Think of nothing things, think of wind.

No comments :

Post a Comment