Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1924 and was raised in various parts of the south, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. By the age of fourteen he had already started writing short stories, some of which were published. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. Following his spell with the New Yorker, Capote spent two years on a Louisiana farm where he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He lived, at one time or another, in Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies, and travelled in Russia and the Orient. He is the author of many highly praised books, including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949), The Grass Harp (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), In Cold Blood (1965), which immediately became the centre of a storm of controversy on its publication, Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published by Penguin. Truman Capote died in August 1984.
Capote's novel shows the promise of a future master; Campbell's interpretation shows the promise of a good reader. Campbell is better at narration than dialogue as her efforts to differentiate characters, especially males, are forced, and much of her reading is flat or breathy. But she handles some of Capote's best writing with a range and flare that bode well for future audios. Capote told everyone he'd destroyed his earliest effort (produced at age 19), but it recently turned up at Sotheby's, handwritten in four ruled school notebooks. The plot is thin and the characters weak. With her Fifth Avenue Protestant parents off in Europe, 17-year-old Grady rebels by intensifying an affair with and quickly marrying a parking lot attendant from a dysfunctional Brooklyn Jewish family. She soon finds herself pregnant and wallows in regret. But there are glimpses of Capote's signature style that emerged only four years later in Other Voices, Other Rooms, and a hint of Breakfast at Tiffany's' Holly Golightly in the character of Grady McNeil. For Capote mavens-or those whose interest has been piqued by the movie-Summer Crossing is worth a listen. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.