Read | 10. Oct 2021

Swan Song

Let us go back in time when people actually did not want to share their private lives with the public.

Before any social networks existed online there was a lot of social networking going on in the real world. Just normally behind closed doors, rarely put into the limelight by magazines or gossip columnists. The most exclusive circle of them all was the group of New York society ladies who were intimate friends of a very entertaining writer.

All of them very rich, married to influencial guys, those ladies loved to lunch and party with Truman Capote, fighting for their plus-one-stuatus in his company. They treated him like their best girlfriend as he was gay and therefore full of understanding for their so called problems: Being betrayed by their husbands (C.Z.Guest), outdone by their more influential sisters (Lee Radziwill), compared to other women, even though they were truely unique (Marella Agnelli).

He called them "Swans" - for their beauty and distant behaviour. They loved to gossip with him - and obviously trusted him and his confidentiality.

So Capote´s fall from grace in 1975, after he allowed a tittle-tattling excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Answered Prayers, to be published in Esquire magazine, was sudden but not really unexpected. The adored pet and confidant of high society had turned on the women who had welcomed him on to their yachts and private jets and into their homes, revealing their secrets under the thinnest of fictional veils.

His outraged “Swans” immediately closed ranks and jettisoned him.

Now there is a new book out by Laurence Leamer: "Capote's Women: A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era" -

to put this incident into new perspective.

And we will read it just like that - as swan song of an Era. A much better one, I would assume.