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Truman Capote’s hideout in Spain: route for a quick and very literary getaway

He was born Truman Streckfus Persons. He was born in New Orleans (Louisiana) in 1924. His parents divorced when he was two years old and he was sent to the home of relatives in Monroeville (Alabama), where he had Harper Lee as a neighbor and friend, who would later also become a successful writer with Kill a Mockingbird (1960), a work for which he would receive the Pulitzer Prize in 1961.

He learned to read and write, self-taught, before going to school. His neighbors remembered him as a child carrying heavy dictionaries that were almost bigger than him. Thus, he managed to take refuge from an unhappy and lonely childhood in the books that he ‘devoured’ one after another and begin to write when he was only eight years old.

In 1932, he went to live with his mother and her second husband, a Cuban accountant named José García Capote, in New York. When his stepfather legally adopted him, Truman Streckfus Persons became Truman Garcia Capote.

During those years, in which he enjoyed the recognition of critics and the public, he rubbed shoulders with the jet set and he dedicates himself to attending parties of millionaires, aristocrats, artists and Hollywood actors and actresses, but he also maintains in his curious circle of friends critics and artists such as Andy Warhol, with whom he occasionally collaborates in the magazine Interview.

Truman Capote, on the cover of ‘Interview’ magazine, directed by Andy Warhol.

He cherishes the idea of ​​writing, more than half a century later, an equivalent to what In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust, he supposed in 1913. The initially planned publication date was 1968, but he postponed it until, in 1975, he agreed that esquire post the first of two chapters.

The second of both, La Côte Basque 1965published in 1976, will mark the beginning of the end of her career: her friends and confidants (rich and/or famous as Lee Razwill, Jackie Kennedy’s sister; Pamela Churchill, the ex of Winston Churchill’s son; Barbara Babe Paley, the wife of the head of the CBS television channel; Gloria Guinness…) were perfectly described after the supposed names of the characters in the future novel.

And, by breaking the unwritten pact of silence and ‘revealing’ some of their unspeakable secrets, they closed the doors of their apartments in Manhattan and their mansions on the coast or the mountains: from the heavens of the most select of social life. New Yorker will descend into the hells of indifference.

Truman Capote, with his signature Moscot glasses.

The writer pampered by high society, the founder of the so-called “New Journalism or narrative journalism” (although his detractors accused him of inventing more than talking) would not publish any more novels, because Prayers answered It was published posthumously in 1986.

Capote will get into a spiral of alcohol and drugs from which he will only emerge with his death, on August 25, 1984, at the age of 60. He died in the house that his friend Joanne Carson, ex-wife of the TV presenter late nights Johnny Carson, had in Bel Air (Los Angeles). According to the autopsy, the cause of death was “liver disease complicated by phlebitis and multiple drug intoxication.”

To complete a surreal biography if there ever was one, his ashes were distributed between his friend Joanne Carson and Capote’s ex-partner, Jack Dunphy, whom he named heir to his will. He always denied that Joanne Carson had half of the writer’s ashes, which even went up for auction.

Dunphy died eight years later, and the ashes of both ferons were scattered in Crooked Pond, a pond in the Long Island Greenbelt, New York, where a plaque commemorates them.

Plaque commemorating the deaths of Truman Capote and Jack Dunphy, at Crooked Pond.

In the house in the Plaza de la Catifa in Palamós you can still read a plaque that remembers the passage of the writer and Jack Dunphy through this area: “This is a fishing village, the water is as clear and blue as the eye of a siren. I get up early because the fishermen set sail at five in the morning and make so much noise that not even Rip Van Winkle could sleep…” (Rip Van Winkle is the protagonist of a story by Washington Irving, of the same title, who sleeps twenty years under the canopy of a tree).

Victoria-Alba García Romero/Alfonso Kurtis

Truman Capote’s route in Palamós

  • Hotel Trias de Palamós, where the novel ended Cold-blooded.

  • The bookstore on Calle Mayor, where I went to browse new items.

  • The last house he stayed in, in Cala Sanià, an impressive farmhouse in the middle of the Ronda road that connects Palamós with Calella de Palafrugell. She invited some friends, such as designer Gloria Vanderbilt, photographer Cecil Beaton, and Jackie Kennedy’s sister, Lee Radziwill, to one of her parties.

  • Big game fan, house in front of Es Monestri beach where animal heads decorated the wallsHouse in front of the Plaza de la Catifa (no longer exists as such, look for a new name).

  • Cala de La Fosca or Cala S’Agaró, where Capote and other intellectuals used to attend the flamenco shows at La Pañoleta (which no longer exists) with La Chunga.

  • The Collboni Pastry Shop on Main Street (they say Truman loved their cake known as gypsy arm).

  • María de Cadaqués Restaurant, where I tasted the typical red shrimp of the area.

  • And chasing the shrimp, a visit to the Lonja, near the port, next to the Plaza de la Catifa, is highly recommended.

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