Truman Capote’s “Music For Chameleons”

Going back and re-reading the works of Truman Capote is like visiting an old and trusted and extremely wise friend. Mr Capote as much as any writer I have read, knew the difference between good writing and very good writing and between very good writing and brilliant writing. And for most of his career, his writing was brilliant.

He could write as descriptively and beautifully as F. Scott Fitzgerald or as descriptively and brutally realistic as Joseph Conrad, but as much as any writer he knew the correct balance when it came to his writing, his subjects, and his characters.

“Music For Chameleons” includes a wonderful collection of short stories and a brilliant and gripping short, non-fiction, novel called “Handcarved Coffins.”

The stories are quite a diversified collection of Americana and the locations include New York City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, the Midwest, and Alabama…and a little bit of Italy, Russia, and Switzland. Mr Capote feels as much at home writing about Hollywood stars, as he does about cleaning ladies working in Manhattan, or as he does about writing about murderers and a member of the Manson clan.

The one thing all the stories and the novel have in common is a vivid, undeniable “honesty.”

“Honesty,” the most important quality that only the greatest of writers have ever achieved.

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