Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Truman Capote

A new biography has been published about the American author Truman Capote, a complex man whose public flamboyance hid a secretive nature. I was surprised to find - many years after I read it - that he was the basis for the boy who comes to stay, in Harper Lee's great novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. Here's a link to a review of the biography in The Weekly Standard.

A few years ago two films about the life of Capote, the better of which - Infamous - featured a powerful and nuanced performance by Toby Jones.

Capote was a master of the documentary novel, where non-fiction material is written with the same sense of creative layering as a piece of fiction. I recommend In Cold Blood, as a starting point.

The just-released biography is called a psycho-biography, which is a new term on me. Supposedly a biography written from a psychoanalytic perspective. An interesting concept, in terms of both fiction and non-fiction. Be interested to hear of other examples in this 'genre'.

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