I rented a DVD the other day, a movie about Truman Capote. My son said it was a really boring movie, and I kind of agree. If it wasn’t for my great respect for the writings of Mr. Capote, I doubt I would have ever been able to keep awake through the entire 2 hours. I mean, I’m sure it was a great movie. The acting was superb, and the message was well put and interesting, but, well… Jackie Chan is funnier.

Nevertheless I found it to be a very accurate portrait of what I have come to admire in Capote.

Truman

Capote made most of his works in the fifties and sixties. He invented the non-fiction novel. The novel In cold blood was published in the mid sixties. After this he was writing – according to himself – the greatest work ever done, the culmination of his genre.

For the last fifteen or twenty years of his life (he died 1984) he was never able to finish this novel. He published small parts of it, like The Mojave, But at his death the book Answered Prayers, was still not finished.

Great literature comes from curiosity for others, to find out that we are the others. Capote found that when trying to describe something truthful, you still have to choose a perspective. To tell the truth was essential to Truman: Even if it was someone else’s. Lot of literature never rises above the author’s ego. Capote was humble enough to understand that he was the medium, not the object of interest.

The relation between the writer and the text itself is not as important as what happens between the reader and the text. That’s Capotes discovery: focus on the story, and leave yourself out.

 

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