The Unfinished Manuscript Which Saw Truman Capote Exiled
The shelves of literary history are stacked with unfinished novels, many of them cruelly cut short by their writers' untimely deaths. Then there are those that simply fizzled out, their authors having fallen out of love with their great idea, or been beset by a paralyzing case of writer's block.
Answered Prayers was Truman Capote's contribution to the list, an incomplete work composed of three chapters originally published in installments in Esquire in 1975 and 1976, and posthumously released altogether as a novel in 1986. Though far from his best book, it is the one literary sleuths and those still enthralled by the goings-on of the Jet Set love to pore over, filled as it is with blind items about Capote's own illustrious circle. Perhaps in its finished form it could, as Capote himself hoped, have been American literature's answer to Proust's In Search of Lost Time, a vivid portrayal of high society, and, in his words, a "dark comedy of the very rich". He claimed to have written a handful of further chapters, with fabulously evocative titles – Yachts and Things, A Severe Insult to the Brain, Father Flanagan’s All-Night Nigger Queen Kosher Café, And Audrey Wilder Sang – and told one friend shortly before his death that he had stashed the manuscript in a safe deposit box, although it was never found. (Even during his lifetime, the manuscript had a wild trajectory, with Capote once alleging that it had been stolen by a lover, and on one occasion even leaving it in a limousine.) Friends remember him reading excerpts to them, though it's unclear how much he was improvising after one too many glasses of Stoli. via Another