• Capote's Women

  • A True Story of Love, Betrayal, and a Swan Song for an Era
  • By: Laurence Leamer
  • Narrated by: Carrington MacDuffie
  • Length: 10 hrs and 25 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (371 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

National Best Seller

New York Times best-selling author Laurence Leamer reveals the complex web of relationships and scandalous true stories behind Truman Capote's never-published final novel, Answered Prayers - the dark secrets, tragic glamour, and Capote's ultimate betrayal of the group of female friends he called his "swans".

“There are certain women,” Truman Capote wrote, “who, though perhaps not born rich, are born to be rich.” Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Marella Agnelli, Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill, C. Z. Guest, Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister) - they were the toast of midcentury New York, each beautiful and distinguished in her own way. Capote befriended them, received their deepest confidences, and ingratiated himself into their lives. Then, in one fell swoop, he betrayed them in the most surprising and startling way possible.

Best-selling biographer Laurence Leamer delves into the years following the acclaimed publication of Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1958 and In Cold Blood in 1966, when Capote struggled with a crippling case of writer’s block. While en­joying all the fruits of his success, he was struck with an idea for what he was sure would be his most celebrated novel…one based on the re­markable, racy lives of his very, very rich friends.

For years, Capote attempted to write An­swered Prayers, what he believed would have been his magnum opus. But when he eventually published a few chapters in Esquire, the thinly fictionalized lives (and scandals) of his closest fe­male confidantes were laid bare for all to see, and he was banished from their high-society world forever. Laurence Leamer re-creates the lives of these fascinating swans, their friendships with Capote and one another, and the doomed quest to write what could have been one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.

©2021 Laurence Leamer (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about Capote's Women

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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OMG!!! Riveting. Exciting. Movie???

This book was such a joy to listen to. The narrator’s voice was perfect. Even her French & English accents were spot on. The stories about these women were very exciting. Were they really true? The movie will provide so many great roles for women actors. I’m sorry l’m finished.

8 people found this helpful

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Excellent Narration & Delicious Book.

The narration by Carrington McDuffie is magnificent for starters, and any Truman Capote fan should take this one in! It’s a fascinating peek into the decorative lives of the women he befriended; more so than Capote could relay, and since there’s so much water under that particular bridge by now - it’s an excellent piece of Social Anthropology. Very highly recommended!

7 people found this helpful

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You need to know a bit about the players

Had I not lived through the 1960s, 70s and 80s much of the name dropping herein would have meant little. I never liked Truman Capote although the common culture said I "should". Now I know why. He was not "a character", "an icon", "a great writer". He was a mean spirited, user of a man who left chaos in his wake. This book is less about The Swans and their lives and more about the destruction of them by a selfish twit of a man who gives every high school aged "mean girl" a run for her money.

6 people found this helpful

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VERY entertaining non fiction

Highly recommend this if you love non-fiction. About Truman Capote and his "Swans," socialites of the 50s and 60s. Full of glamor and cunning, these women climbed to the top of society--but many were ultimately unhappy once at the top. This parallels Capote's literary career. It was very entertaining--loved listening to it on auditable.

5 people found this helpful

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nothing new - could be called intro to Truman

I’m a big fan of Truman’s work and can’t help being fascinated by his life. However there is nothing new in this story - It feels cobbled together from other books and articles. And the narrator mispronunciations were bothersome. Mainbocher can be tricky, but who doesn’t know that Caroline Kennedy does not go by Carolyn?

4 people found this helpful

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Carrington MacDuffie!

Every book Laurence Leamer writes is excellent. You can count on it. I wish to discuss Ms. MacDuffie. I could listen to her read the dictionary all day long. Unlike many audible narrators (esp if reading a medical autobiography) not a single word or city was mispronounced. Brava, Ms. MacDuffie! What a pleasure. Thank you

4 people found this helpful

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Best read by Capote Fans

Even though Capote’s Women is written with Leamer’s characteristic excellent devotion to detail, I realized very early on that I was not the target demographic for this book. While I had read a few of Truman’s works and was very aware of the Performance Art of his Life, I was not really a fan. Nor was I particularly intrigued by the World of the Super Rich or Best Dressed he inhabited.

I chose the book because of Leamer’s ability to realistically re-create the atmosphere of particular event and describe the actions and motivations of his characters. I feel that the author did all that, but that I didn’t particularly care about the World, Actions or Motivations of these shallow, superficial creatures and so couldn’t really get into the book.

I look forward to Lawrence’s next work but this one can only get three stars. Sorry.

3 people found this helpful

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Not Amazing but…

Interesting account of Truman Capote’s life interspersed with the lives of his famous Swans. I probably would have given up on reading this book if it wasn’t recorded so that’s a testament to the narrator. It can be difficult to stay on track when attempting to tell the life stories of multiple people in one book; for the most part, Leamer does a capable job but there were a few moments of jumping back and forth that were quite confusing. But overall, I enjoyed learning more about these women and what made them the international superstars of their day. Capote was hard to like, very self-absorbed and certainly not grateful for the privileges he experienced as a result of befriending these women. It is not surprising that he died alone with only one friend by his side.

2 people found this helpful

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Writing is fine, women profiled are awful

I hesitate to give a low rating to this author's work - there's nothing wrong with the writing, but the characters are all so dislikeable that I wish I had not taken the time to listen. I assumed the author would reveal the substance of the women profiled, but apparently there is no substance to any of them. He details their incredible shallowness, selfishness, disregard for their own children in most cases, and shallow pursuit of money and status above anything else. I like biographical books, but prefer subjects whose lives are worth documenting.

1 person found this helpful

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Totally boring poorly written

What an insult to Truman Capote this book is. Horribly written vapid stringing- together of worn cliches & misused vocabulary. UGH! “Darling GOD but I wish he’d just left us ALONE!” I can imagine Capote saying if he’d had to endure 2 minutes’ listening to this author’s “prose”…
OMG the Swans were DULL & how could the author have made Capote himself so BORING? Z-z-z-z-z-z A truly irritating snoozefest - I had to return it.

1 person found this helpful