Slim Keith

Why did Truman Capote betray his ‘swans’ so cruelly?

The first rule in John Updike’s code of book reviewing is: try to understand what the author wished to do and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt. I should therefore not blame Laurence Leamer for failing to capture in Capote’s Women any sense of what made Truman Capote irresistibly attractive to all sorts of people – rich, poor, male, female and especially to his flock of high-society swans, the women of Leamer’s title. Nor should I blame him for failing to identify what made Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood both beloved by critics and hugely popular. I can’t blame Leamer, because what