My fourth book for October was Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era by Laurence Leamer. Sharon gave me the book last Christmas. She was drawn to the book because Truman Capote was mentioned in Anderson Cooper's book that we both read last year.
The book entwines Truman Capote's life story with the stories of a number of women that he befriended. He called them his swans. They included Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C. Z. Guest and Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister).
Capote received their deepest confidences. In one fell swoop, he betrayed them. For years, Capote attempted to write Answered Prayers. He eventually published a few chapters in Esquire. The thinly fictionalized lives (and scandals) of his closest female confidantes were laid bare and he was banished from their high-society world forever.
The book provides a solid overview of Capote's life; I really didn't know anything about him. The parts of the book about Lee Radziwill are fascinating. These parts alone made the book worthwhile for me. The material on Pamela Churchill is also interesting. Pamela Churchill figures prominently in the The Splendid and the Vile. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't a section on Gloria Vanderbilt.