Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2021
If you’re obsessed like Truman Capote was with his swans this book is a must read. He was enchanted with these striking beauties who led the most glamorous lives in a world he aspired to be a part of but then, he turned on them in the most vicious way he knew how, with the mighty quill.

I’ve read several books about both Capote and his female friends, but this one takes the cake. The author has captured not only Truman’s highs and lows throughout his writing career as well as his lonely childhood and issues of abandonment, and his weaknesses when it came to the friendships he created among the ladies of high society, but how he betrayed them. Leamer alternates chapters with the women’s histories, their shared epitome of style, showing a facade of strength and beauty, but inside their struggles with endless insecurities, which, to their downfall, they confided in Truman, thinking he was a true friend.

From Gloria Guinness, C.Z. Guest, Babe Paley, Lee Radziwill, Slim Keith, Marella Agnelli, and Pamela Churchill, these women, and often their husbands, became close with Truman during sojourns to exotic locations and country estates. In the end, what ruined Truman was his stunning betrayal of confidence. Attempting to further his literary status beyond BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and IN COLD BLOOD, he began working on what he thought would be his masterpiece, ANSWERED PRAYERS, but it never came to fruition. Instead, it became his literary self-sabotage. It was so thinly veiled that his swans easily recognized themselves and were shocked that their secrets were revealed in this fictionalized piece (Esquire pre-published several chapters) that they immediately severed ties with Truman. Hurt and humiliated beyond repair.

It was the end of his career and the friendships that meant the most to him in the world. He died a lonely, sad, shattered shell of the man he once aspired to be and the writer he could have been.
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