When Truman Capote died in 1984, just before his sixtieth birthday, his life had been in a shambles for years. The phenomenal success of In Cold Blood (1966) fulfilled all his dreams, but at that moment he began inexplicably to implode. His crack-up was as public and spectacular as any in recent history. Suffering from what is known as free-floating anxiety, he ingested heroic amounts of alcohol and patronized all the pill-pushing Dr. Feelgoods who flourished in New York during the Sixties and Seventies. He derived no benefit from his frequent stays in clinics and hospitals, often returning to the bottle the very evening of his release. Increasingly detached from his longtime partner, Jack Dunphy, who had been a stabilizing force for him, he embarked on a series of inappropriate relationships, culminating in one with a suburban heterosexual bank official, John O’Shea: this was an insane mésalliance that turned into an orgy of mutual...


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