The old line you hear about certain authors — he’s as much of a character as anyone in his books! — doesn’t tend to be true even when we say it. Yet in Truman Capote
’s case, it’s virtually an understatement. No character he created on the page ever gave off quite the magnetic damaged resonance of his own.
He told the tale of his own youth, more or less, in “Other Voices, Other Rooms” (1948), the autobiographical novel that put Capote — and his homosexuality — on the map. Holly Golightly
, from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1958), is an indelibly chic vagabond-waif, but the main reason we still talk about her is the 1961 movie version that cast Audrey Hepburn
as a so-toned-down-she-was-barely-even-the-same-character version of Holly. Capote singlehandedly invented the New Journalism with “In Cold Blood
” (1966), but as revolutionary as that book was, the disappointment of it, to me, has always been that