2008: 45. Capote in Kansas

“She’s back. She’s after me.”

Those were the first words Nelle had heard from him in  - God, twenty years?

Capote in Kansas, Kim Powers

Capote in Kansas is a fictionalized version of what has become, to me, a very familiar story - that of Truman Capote, Harper Lee, and the writing of In Cold Blood.  Having read In Cold Blood a number of times, read the George Plimpton Capote biography and seen both Capote and Infamous, I feel like I know this tale.  That having been said, this is a fine little novel (and I think a debut at that), which looks at their story at the end of their lives - Capote is a washed up outcast and alcoholic, trying to write anything new, and Lee (called Nelle) is living her life with the fact that she never wrote another word after Mockingbird.   They haven’t spoke in twenty years, and Nelle is surprised when Truman calls her, saying that he is being haunted by the ghosts of the Clutter family.  What follows is a meditation on the relationship between two writers, once best friends, on being a writer generally, on success and failure, on betrayal, and on just who did write Mockingbird.  If you don’t mind that the territory is a wee bit familiar (and after all, it is a damned interesting story), this is a very interesting version on just what might have happened between those two.


Date/Place Completed: 3/23/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction; Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017