Excursions Of A Bibliophile

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Archive for November, 2010

Music For Chameleons – Truman Capote

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on November 12, 2010

The orderliness of a person’s table top is not necessarily a reflection of his clean working habits. How orderly he keeps his drawers that lie below the table top are a true reflection of that. In many ways this applies to writers too. A writer’s masterpiece need not necessarily be a reflection of his writing talents for they say that¬†everybody has atleast one novel in him. The not so well known or popular books of a writer can provide true glimpses of her talent. I decided to apply this approach to check my impressions on the writings of Truman Capote and started with his¬† “Music for Chameleons”. In relation to his other books like “In Cold Blood”, “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” or “Other Voices, Other Rooms” — “Music for Chameleons” is lesser known yet it is full of delightful writing with sharp observations and a keen ear for the various voices and people whom Capote encounters. The piece “A Non Fiction Account Of An American Crime” is truly dazzling for its ability to tell a real life crime incident absorbingly well. The other pieces “Mojave”, “Dazzle”, ” A Day’s Work”, “Hidden Gardens”, “Hospitality”, “Hello Stranger” and “Derring Do” make for some wonderful reading. Capote’s range of interactions are uninhibited across layers of society and his writings catch the pulse of these intercations quite well.

For me any reading has to be humanising and entertaining. “Music for Chameleons” succeeds brilliantly on the latter and fails on the former.

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