Thursday, November 19, 2015

*The Swans of Fifth Avenue - (book)

My friend Laurie recently sent me this book.  You can find Laurie's book reviews at Bookworm is My Totem.  I always enjoy Laurie's reviews.

*The Swans of Fifth Avenue*
Melanie Benjamin 

This was just the kind of distracting reading I was in need of when it arrived.

The book is based on the unlikely relationships Capote had with Babe Paley and her 1950's clique of contemporaries.  The "swans" as Capote called them reflected his ideal woman and most likely contributed to his fiction.  He was sort of their mascot or pet.  A safe male companion their husbands couldn't object to.  They shared their secrets with him.

Then in 1975 Capote revealed their dirtiest secrets to the world in a story published in Esquire magazine.  Of course there was a great scandal.  Capote claimed that they should have known and said "I'm a journalist after all".  He seemed to be going downhill personally at the time.  Maybe searching for something that would put him back in the literary spotlight.

I found some of the women amusing and Capote not likable at all.  However the book was an easy read.  Someone said "it is a perfect book for fans of Truman Capote, film-buffs and fashionistas".  I agree and would just add that I enjoyed reading about New York in the 50's through the 70's.  A period of change in society.

Any Capote fans out there?


  1. I think this book might be fascinating to read...although I'm not a Capote fan.

  2. It sounds interesting. Somehow, I thought I was following your new blog on Bloglovin and you just weren't posting. I wasn't...but am now!

  3. I first heard the name Truman Capote in grad school, when a fellow grad student was reading :"In Cold Blood." I was hooked. He may have been a journalist, but he was a far better story teller and author. It's too bad you didn't care for him, but it may be because he seemed to have a way of alienating people. Thanks for the review.