Author of eighteen books including five New York Times bestsellers and one off-Broadway play
CAPOTE'S WOMEN: A TRUE STORY OF LOVE, BETRAYAL AND A SWAN SONG FOR AN ERA
Publication by Putnam October 12, 2021
Capote’s Women tells the story of seven women who epitomized glamour and elegance in the post-war world and of Truman Capote’s struggle to write Answered Prayers, his novel about these women he called his “swans.”
For years the diminutive, flamboyantly gay author had been proudly telling anyone within hearing that he was writing the greatest novel of the age about the swans. They were Truman's closest friends . Their mothers had taught them that they must marry a rich man or be outliers. The seven women were Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Pamela Harriman, Gloria Guinness, C.Z. Guest, Marella Agnelli and Lee Radziwill.
Truman understood what these women had done and how they had done it and that for most of them happiness was an elusive bird, always flying just out of sight. That’s why the fifty-year-old author was calling his novel Answered Prayers following the saying attributed to Saint Teresa of Avila: “There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.”
It took discipline and focus to create a swan's persona and keep it decade after decade when other women gave up the illusions of youth. There were probably no more than a dozen women who Truman could have considered as swans. They were all on the best dressed list, all celebrated in the fashion press and beyond and all knew each other. These women had no idea and neither did Truman that they were an anomaly, a species that would live and die in one generation.
A brilliant observer of the human condition, Truman had spent as much as two decades with some of these women, two decades to explore the deepest recesses of their lives, two decades to understand them. He appreciated the challenges of their star-crossed lives, what they faced and how they survived. He had everything he needed to write about them with depth and nuance exploring both the good and the bad, the light and the darkness. But the novel’s promise would turn out to be as elusive and unfulfilled as true happiness was for his swans.
Capote’s Women takes the reader back to a lost world of elegance, extravagance and endless privilege and a series of star-crossed lives. Capote’s Women is equally a revealing and cautionary tale about the gilded prisons in which these women lived.