Born in New Orleans in 1924, the homosexual Capote was abandoned by his mother and raised by his elderly aunts and cousins in Monroeville, Alabama. As a child he lived a solitary and lonely existence, turning to writing for consolation.
In his mid-teens, Capote was sent to New York to live with his mother and her new husband. Disoriented by life in the city, he dropped out of school, and at age seventeen, got a job with The New Yorker magazine. Capote’s first book, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was published in 1948. It gained fame for its fine prose and its frank discussion of homosexual themes.
With literary success came social celebrity. The young writer was adored by the high society elite, and was seen at the best parties, clubs, and restaurants. He answered accusations of frivolousness by claiming he was researching a future book. His short novel, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958), took much of its inspiration from these experiences. With the publication of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and the subsequent hit film starring Audrey Hepburn, Capote’s popularity and place among the upper crust was assured.
In 1959, Capote started creating a new literary genre — the non-fiction novel. In Cold Blood (1966) is the story of the murder of the four members of a Kansas farming family. Capote went to Kansas to explore the small-town life and to write about how they coped with this loss. During his stay, the two murderers were caught, and Capote began to interview with both. He took thousands of pages of notes for six years. In Cold Blood sold out instantly, and became one of the most talked about books of its time.
To celebrate the book’s success, Capote threw the famous “Black and White Ball” at the Plaza Hotel. Overwhelmed by the lifestyles of the rich and famous, Capote began to work on a project exploring the intimate details of his friends. The book about them was to be a largely factual report of the glittering world in