Truman Capots, whose previous Other Voices, Other Rooms (a novel) and Tree of Night (short stories), were mightily...



Truman Capots, whose previous Other Voices, Other Rooms (a novel) and Tree of Night (short stories), were mightily submerged, subterranean and psychiatric, approximates the surface in his latest work- a group of semi-essays on such places as New Orleans, Tangier, Brooklyn, Ischia, Hollywood, New York, Haiti, Spain and Europe. Perceptive, clear-eyed and delightfully creative, these notes on places and people have caught the folk rhythms, the angular off-beats, the protective coloring, and the often surrealistic juxtaposition- and brought them into common focus. New Orleans is composed of uncertain vistas, ""old charm"", good eating places, a mammoth jazz man named ""Shotgun"", a man banging from a tree in an eerie courtyard where a hound dog drinks water- and Mr. Buddy, who sings, plays the guitar and keeps his nail scissors sharp for fights. Brooklyn is described brilliantly and eloquently creating the atmosphere of a ""continent of backyard lots"". Capote knows Mr. T. T. Huett-Smith, a distinguished, elderly lady who lives at the Cherokee in Brooklyn- an antiquated apartment hotel- and who steals silverware from the five and ten cents store. Another old man at the Cherokee throws light bulbs out of a window. It's the city where you can hear a cock crow. Hollywood is ""the no place of everywhere"", the childless place, the Chirico stamping ground where construction, lives, things are of the pasteboard, no-back variety. The treatment of New York is fairly routine; a magic island, a fairy land, etc. It has Joe Vitale, the radio repairman, who wants to swim from Rockaway to Jones Beach; it also has a bit about Garbo on Third Avenue- and something about a heat wave. In Haiti there is a description of a native dance- and whores- especially a six foot tall one. And there is swashbuckling, jealous Lucia in Venice who leads a band of juvenile delinquents; a dangerous walk in Ischia- and the meeting with the Mussolini family; evil Tangier where the Soko is always busy; a bandit scare in Spain....Textured, colorful, articulate, delicate, beautifully written and constructed- these shots in a dark, dark world are civilized and alive.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1950