An intriguing study re-created from diary notes and a particularly sharp memory. Whether Capote's exploits charmed or annoyed you, Brinnin's brief bio of his friend will interest most readers. He met Capote when the writer was the infant terrible of the literary world: Capote managed to write and be a society-page item at the same time. There seemed to be no one he didn't know. He tells a skeptical Brinnin of his affairs with John Garfield and Errol Flynn and drops enough names to fill a phone book. Brinnin tries to be a Dutch uncle, a concerned and loyal friend. For the most part, he succeeds, and in writing intelligently about it all makes a man who was increasingly portrayed as a campy odd-ball and social leech very human and almost tragic. The author had the painful task of watching Capote destroy himself. There was very little he could do except care for him when he was sick and enjoy him when he was well and witty. The man he remembers was often generous to a fault, shrewd and a good judge of people. He enjoyed being a celebrity, Brinnin writes, and lived uninhibitedly and all out. Brinnin shows the man, stripped of gossip and trivia--quite a feat.
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