15 thoughts on “Answered Prayers – Truman Capote

  1. “More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” — Saint Teresa.


    Pages 5 – 14

    “Because I have been to the middle of our planet; […] and, en route, have observed others…”

    Maybe the Nemonymous Night of young P.B. Jones (who is he really?) is still some time hence, though.

    “What I liked about Hulga (yes, I know Flannery O’Connor named one of her heroines Hulga, but I’m not swiping; it’s simply a coincidence) was that she never wearied of listening to me read my work aloud.”

    A young man, unsure of his birthdate, ready to sell his sex to others of both genders. Including, for selling the stories he has written. Not as good as the one I am reading at the moment (if it is a story at all), as judged by someone in it! – Mr Boatright: creative writing lecturer. This ‘story’ I am reading and indeed now real-time reviewing is slick, witty and fetchingly dirty, I guess.

  2. Pages 14 – 24

    “The other day, when I started this account, I had no notion whether or not I’d continue it.”

    My synergous review of it, too, I guess.
    Meanwhile, with Jones’ PB rhyming with TC, he gets to know lots of famous people at Boaty’s, and thus our getting to know them, too. And through them PB gets his stuff published…..He must have learnt a lot if he ended up writing this stuff! But not enough to stay out of the trouble resulting from his text’s piques and veils. Naive contorting of the boners alongside, say, the reported Garbo one-liner about the ageing of her quim. This stuff indeed crepitates and concupiscates… tactile with toppling tontines of flesh, including one woman early on who was a “bedroom back-seat driver.”

  3. Pages 25 – 37

    “It never occurred to me not to go;”

    Or to come! PB now meets a character called Denny Fouts, a young stud with a million cuffs to link.

    The stylistic flow here, leaping between clauses, is so disarming, I can’t believe anyone took up arms against it, just wrapped arms around it. Whatever one’s direction of lift. Or once fake fame.

    As a personal aside…No grey areas left. Once, human beings were accustomed to need grey areas between polarities. The difference between making a dying person comfortable or killing them. Blaming someone or forgiving them. Calling them a genius for their arts or crucifying them for their acts.

  4. Pages 36 – 46

    I don’t know how he does it, PB or TC, but his words evoke these famous people as real people in my living room. A living room, indeed. I shall never forget his account of the lessons in growing up given to him by Colette and the White Rose she gave him.

  5. Pages 46 – 51

    PB talks to an old buddy who points him towards a stud job. PB also talks about his new book – this one, in which he is thus talking about it !

    “Think of Proust. Would REMEMBRANCE have the ring that it does if he had made it historically literal, if he hadn’t transposed sexes, altered events and identities?”

    My view of Proust from a few years ago: https://mathewfriley.com/2010/09/df-lewis-the-book-i-would-like-to-be-buried-with/

  6. Pages 51 – 65

    “Miss Self WILL see you now, Mr. Jones.” (My capitals)

    PB Jones (alias TC) has to change his pseudonym to Smith to earn money on the then gig economy as sex worker employee of Miss Self, one client being a once famous playwright (anyone know who this is?) with the pseudonym Wallace, a deeply cancerous man with a sexed-up dog he calls Bill. Poignant and hilarious. And a priest who punishes pity.
    We also hear PB’s take on the uses of pornography, and that he is not willing to ‘catch’ but ‘pitch’. No cigar.

  7. Pages 65 – 74

    “To return droop-tailed and toting an unsold novel required someone with either lesser or greater character than I had.”

    Turns of phase and sexual turns, self-seeking, as we all do, here PB following the Spring across Europe. A blind man’s abandonment by a woman is related to PB’s abandonment of Denny Fouts. The ruthlessness of forgetting whom one exclusively loves when another love comes along. Or when another subconsciously pressing goal comes along like a book to sell, a goal even more ruthless than that of love, perhaps. And PB is only saved from marrying an ageing crone by already being legally married to Hulga… sometimes one’s own volition is so fickle, I guess. Prayers answered or unanswered depend on your consciously praying them at all. Being in denial of such prayers are little different from unconscious or subconscious gropings for something….?

  8. Pages 74 – 82

    “A crippled Jewish girl from Ohio?”
    within three short paragraphs of
    “…a Calcutta beggar woman proffering an afflicted infant.”

    Not the same Calcutta, perhaps, but significant that I read and reviewed a powerful story here this morning by David Erik Nelson where Ohio and Calcutta are featured. And both works having wonderful styles that ease reprehensibly through the eyes and brain…

    Indeed, this highly reprehensible Capote book continues, with more real identified famous people, and with interconnecting chancers across the gestalt of the mid-20th century social world, living off the rich, because these chancers, like our narrator and now Aces Nelson, look good and screw good. Full of real identified or identifiable famous people. At least semi-autobiographical, this reprehensible fiction. Probably a lot more than semi-, though.
    Mention of ‘Death in Venice’, a striking description of Tangier, and a woman who is thin enough to harbour tapeworms. Next stop, Paris.

    I learnt recently that this book was originally envisioned by Capote to become the new Proust REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST… The book I once wanted to be buried with

  9. Pages 82 – 97

    “So we put her to bed, and he gave her another piqûre, one that totally erased all trace of terror; and it was then I realized that swimming below the soigné surface, there had always been a fearful, drowning child.”

    From “mulatto” to “Mutt” to “Verveine”, we now somehow hear the moving backstory of Kate McCloud who was, at the age of 12, secretly engaged to be married, and about her matchless beauty and green eyes, and I have already spotted that PB’s next part of this book — as this UNSPOILED MONSTERS at the centre of the Earth part ends — is called KATE MCCLOUD. A character to die for, I already predict. Except she dies first? We shall find out in due course, no doubt.

  10. II

    “I may be a black sheep, but my hooves are made of gold”
    P.B. JONES
    while under the influence

    Pages 101 – 104

    “‘I’m no better than they are. And you are no better than I am. We’re all the same person.’
    And suddenly I realized the voice was mine, and I thought boyoboy, Jesus kid, you’re losing your marbles, your brains are running out of your ears.”

    PB, after many ‘dates’ arranged by Ms Self, goes on the off chance, braving the variegated hot polloi en route, to a see a film at a cinema, that turns out to star a young Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.

  11. Pages 112 – 125

    “I was glad to talk; anything to get my mind off that mischievous hard-on.”

    I won’t easily forget the scene when PB starts his ‘professional’ massaging of the incredible nudity of Kate McCloud… his Mutt becoming a Phoebe in the process!

    “Time out. I need to sharpen pencils and begin a new notebook.”

  12. Pages 125 – 137

    “Seldom has a more untrue prophecy been prophesied.”

    Spoilt for choice in jobs, PB chooses between a man called Appleton for a stay with his wife and family, and to be Kate’s companion, bearing in mind her ex may kill her. Some disarming strangeness here, oblique, inscrutable involving the expression “Proustian-ghosted” and a memorable and haunting dream of Kate with a green parasol, a man and a dog by the sea. But was the dog Mutt or Phoebe?

  13. III

    Nobody understands Basque, and I did not understand much of this last part of a presumably unfinished work. Mention of Wallis Simpson, Princess Margaret, and Jackie Kennedy.

    “Her mother’s a darling, but the rest of the family! — though Prince Charles may amount to something. But basically, royals think there are just three categories: colored folk, white folk, and royals.”

    I shall miss our PB, but only for a nonce.
    His book made an interesting backdrop to my review so far here of GOLDEN HOUSE.

    My previous reviews of Truman Capote works: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/5420-2/


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