DEAR GENIUS. . ."": A Memoir of My Life with Truman Capote by Jack Dunphy

DEAR GENIUS. . ."": A Memoir of My Life with Truman Capote

Email this review


Readers expecting a conventional celebrity bio are likely to be disappointed--and more than a little mystified--by these curious reminiscences by Capote's companion of 35 years. A novelist himself, Dunphy has chosen to incorporate his memories of Capote and certain incidents from their life together into a fictional narrative that manages the nearly impossible feat of being hackneyed and unbelievable at the same time, as well as self-consciously contrived, precious and, most damagingly, unrevealing: in short, an embarrassment. Framing his skimpy ""revelations"" in the tale of one Father Synge's crisis of faith (Father Synge is prevented from abandoning the priesthood because of some undefined mystical epiphany experienced while escorting the drunken Capote home from a First Avenue bar), Dunphy chronicles the cleric's dogged attempts to ""save"" the rapidly disintegrating writer. Parallel to this narrative line is a subplot involving a Sister Teresalike nun operating a shelter for neglected children in Brooklyn; Father Synge's atheistic mother; a Barry Fitzgeraldish monsignor; and a spiritual ex-prostitute who loves to drive. What with all this peripheral activity going on, Dunphy has little time (or, apparently, inclination) to tell the reader much of interest or importance about the purported subject of his work. Further distancing the reader from the material is a writing style that veers from winsome to wooden, from pretentious to pedestrian. The final result is a work that falls both as roman à clef and as literary or emotional testament.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1987
Publisher: McGraw-Hill