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Answered Prayers

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  3,208 ratings  ·  259 reviews
Although Truman Capote’s last, unfinished novel offers a devastating group portrait of the high and low society of his time.

Tracing the career of a writer of uncertain parentage and omnivorous erotic tastes, Answered Prayers careens from a louche bar in Tangiers to a banquette at La Côte Basque, from literary salons to high-priced whorehouses. It takes in calculating beau
Hardcover, 181 pages
Published January 1st 1986 by Hamish Hamilton
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3.48  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,208 ratings  ·  259 reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Too bad that this is an unfinished novel. I could have given this at least 4 stars.

According to Wiki, Capote was not able to finish this novel because he got busy with the stardom In Cold Blood (4 stars) gave him. In 1966, he signed a contract with Random House to write this book with January 1st 1968 as the delivery date. He missed the date and the contract was renegotiated in 1969 with 1973 as the new delivery date. He missed again so it was moved further to 1974. Missed again so on to 1977. M
.Answered Prayers: Truman Capote's unfinished novel of life among the low and high side of life

More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.--St. Teresa of Avila

Capote's Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel began as a series of notes in 1958. It was a project Capote kept under close wraps. It was not until January 5, 1966, Capote approached Random House signing a contract with an advance of $25,000 with a delivery date of January 1, 1968.

Capote described the novel as a Proust
"Would you care to hear a truly vile story? Really vomitous?"

Not going to lie: that's exactly what I came for. But I leave it feeling uncomfortably complicit in Capote's bitter spite. His incisive descriptions are wielded here less like a scalpel and more like a melee weapon, inflicting as much gleeful cruelty as possible, and it became the grotesquerie that kept me reading rather than the prose itself: this is Capote past his prime and he knew it. OF COURSE it was was also Ca
Nov 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why do people see shrinks? To tell someone their most secret woes and stories. They don't expect (or get) answers. They just wanna Let Go. Famous People, it seems, revealed all to Capote and were not happy when he put their "tales" in a book. He was blacklisted by Society after some chapters appeared in Esquire, and never finished what would have been a sensationally good novel. Capote was mortal. He cared what people thought.
Jan 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There's a game that has various names; the one I learned during childhood is "Gossip" -- whispered words transmitted from one mouth to the nearest ear until the last participant reveals what (s)he heard. The game may be instructive or entertaining or both or neither. In any case, unlike real gossip, the game is generally harmless; but game or gossip -- the product of the process is distortion. Answered Prayers is not "what it is" nor what it was supposed to be. For starters, it's a part, not the ...more
Jul 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: novel
Whatever possessed Capote to turn on his lifelong friends, like Jackie O. and her sister, Lee Raziwill, William and Babe Paley, and the rest of the New York social set is beyond me. The fact that this novel was contracted for in 1966 and remained unpublished until after his death, says much about his ambivalence towards the project. At the same time, Capote spent many years being the lapdog to moneyed New Yorkers, wined and dined at the finest restaurants before going back to his room at the YMC ...more
Answered Prayers is one of the few works of Capote's I haven't read, this and Music for Chameleons, which is still on my list. If you have never read anything by Capote or have only read In Cold Blood, I'd advise you to steer clear of this one. Start with one of his short stories (may I suggest Children on Their Birthdays? Miriam is also good, very Southern Gothic, as is A Christmas Memory- that one made me ugly cry) or perhaps Breakfast at Tiffany's or Other Voices Other Rooms. This work is onl ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bought
Why I picked up what some consider to be Truman Capote's worst work is to this day a mystery to me. I was at Alias East Bookstore on Brand, and I had $7 more credit. Due that I didn't want to hold on to a credit in my pocket for the next week or so, decided on this as a mood purchase. Also I recently got back from New York City, and I wanted to read something 'classic' from Manhattan aesthetic. My understanding is that "Answered Prayers" was a novel that Capote never finished, but talked about c ...more
Apr 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite Capote book even over Other Voices, Other Rooms. Perhaps because it IS unfinished and shrouded in such mystery, despair, potential, and ultimately dissolution. I reread it every couple years. Was Capote blacklisted because he was telling tales outside of school, or because he revealed the glitterati for what they were, hypocrites and debauches? A novel that raises more questions as it moves to conclusion. Answered Prayers indeed!
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wanted to read this since it figures prominently in the last book I read, 'The Swans of Fifth Avenue'. Being unfinished, it suffers from being a bit disjointed, but still has enough to warrant the quick read.
Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, short-stories
As truth is nonexistent, it can never be anything but illusion – but illusion, the by-product of revealing artifice, can reach the summits nearer the unobtainable peak of Perfect Truth. For example, female impersonators. The impersonator is in fact a man (truth), until he recreates himself as a woman (illusion) – and of the two, the illusion is the truer.

I learned of Answered Prayers while reading The Swans of Fifth Avenue, and although it's an “unfinished novel”, the history behind this book
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: St. Teresa of Avila
Shelves: own, fiction
Capote's unfinished roman à clef has its moments, when the snark is enjoyable and the cattiness chuckleworthy. But the impression I was left with is more one of subdued disgust; how much of the doings of a bisexual hustler can you absorb before you need to imbibe some Willa Cather, or Cotton Mather, as a palate cleanser?

P.B. Jones = Truman Capote
Alice Lee Langman = Katherine Ann Porter
Kate McCloud = an amalgam of women, including Mona Bismarck (Mrs. Harrison Williams), Ann Woodward, Pamela
Halley Sutton
I love Truman Capote. And I love his self mythology almost as much as his writing. That said, this was a bit of a disaster, and unworthy of being the last book of a man who had a lot of genius. I read a review of this book that said it was written as "his internal editor was collapsing" and that feels super true.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-top-reads
Incomplete, but still often magnificent; hilarious, scabrous, beyond candid and often as accomplished as sentence writing gets.
Al Riske
Apr 06, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Crude, self-indulgent, and - worse - boring.
Sep 24, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, fiction
Every novel is a form of catharsis in one way or another. It's the deal we make when we buy a book: if the author packages their woes, hopes and gripes well and in an entertaining way, then we will patiently listen and even enjoy ourselves. With all the reader oriented writing Truman did in his career, in the final analysis it's clear that he ultimately did not understand for whom he was writing. In Answered Prayers we see the world through Truman's eyes as he must have experienced life on earth ...more
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: overdrive
I wasn't expecting too much from this book since I knew it was an unfinished work, but even so I was a little disappointed. It probably should not have been published. I also couldn't see how the final piece in the book, "La Cote Basque" could have caused such a scandal when first published. It caused Capote to be ostracized by all of his society friends, but it seemed awfully tame in this "spill your secrets at all times" age.
David Corvine
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed reading it but it really was too little, too late. Camp, malicious, gossipy, meandering, this work only hints at the opus that it might have been.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well-written, I just wish it were finished. La Côte Basque seemed to be another story entirely, although fitting with the theme of gossip, did not lend much in the way of this novel (but it was also probably my favorite chapter). Still, overall it was all incredibly entertaining.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recently read an article about Truman Capote and decided to read this unfinished manuscript. The title is a quote from St Teresa "More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones". This is the first three chapters that were published in magazines causing his estrangement from New York Society and his many benefactors. CNN's Anderson Cooper has said his Mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, was very hurt by the thinly veiled portrayal of her in the third chapter "La Cote Basque" she never fo ...more
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
truman capote is easily the most versatile american author of all time. this time he turns to something perhaps closest to his true nature - gossip. i swam through the filth of his last, unfinished novel with remarkable easiness - it's like reading perez hilton, only masterly written. it's as witty as it is observant and capote to me was a true genius.
honestly, this book was the main focus of my 90-page-long MA thesis so I would be undoing myself by reviewing it like any other book. all i can s
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's an unfinished novel, so I can't be too harsh, but I'm not sure I understood what it was even about or what the controversy that surrounded it was about either. The whole thing is meant to scandalize the reader with details of gay prostitutes and people publicly urinating on others, or celebrities talking about who slashes their wrists, but there's no point. Just meant to shock without purpose. And not written well. After seeing Capote, it made me wonder if the author was just a deeply troub ...more
Stacy LeVine
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious! Rife with only-sometimes-veiled gossip about real-life NYC luminaries so salacious it makes the mouth water, this is uniquely inspired prose from a true American master (whose career and life were summarily destroyed by the precious text, hence "unfinished"). Not sure how it reads to someone who doesn't know their history, because I know mine. And, to me, this is a very special historical relic. If you know your NYC literary/cinematic/socialite history and/or love Capote, DO NOT MISS ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This shit is bananas! Loved. it..
Apr 22, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was like being a guest at a long and tedious dinner party in which people try to be interesting by telling a succession of stories about other people that they think others will find "fabulous, dahling".... but, unfortunately.. they're not. A few are modestly interesting, but most of them are dull or rely upon some supposedly shocking (or gross) twist. At one point I felt very much like the book's protagonist, who is unable to continue eating his dinner due to a particularly st ...more
Nicolas Chinardet
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Some dishes can be too rich and should therefore only be enjoyed in small quantity. This is very much how this book works.

Having gone through the 180 pages containing those three fragments of a novel, I feel repleat and possibly rather glad there isn't more. What the effect of a complete book would have been is anyone's guess.

There is little in terms of plot in the pages we are presented with. The pleasure is in the writing: witty, light-footed, with a poisonous dash of camp bitchiness.

It felt
I read this because I read "The Swans of Fifth Avenue." All I will say is not quite my cup of tea.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
wow this was really not fun haha
Darryl Walker
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Between June 1975 and December 1976 an American magazine previewed half a forthcoming Truman Capote book that never materialized: ANSWERED PRAYERS. For the next 36 years only four out of eight proposed chapters were available to the public until another magazine printed the first six manuscript pages of a fifth. Speculation as to the existence and/or whereabouts of the four other phantom chapters has always been rife and conflicting since ANSWERED PRAYERS appeared in the mid-seventies.

Ah, what I wouldn't give for this to be a finished product.

There are two things that make this a four-star book instead of a five-star.

1. It's not finished. It's an unfinished novel, and that means that a lot of the plot-lines were left unresolved, we didn't get to know what all the build-up was for, and we didn't find out how he ends up in the situation that he is in in "present-time", which I'm sure we would've gotten to know in a finished product.

2. The last thirty pages. I though I was gonn
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Truman Capote was an American writer whose non-fiction, stories, novels and plays are recognised literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958) and In Cold Blood (1965), which he labeled a "non-fiction novel." At least 20 films and TV dramas have been produced from Capote novels, stories and screenplays.

He was born as Truman Streckfus Persons to a salesman Archulus Persons
“More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.” 367 likes
“And yes, to answer you seriously, I am beginning to be... well, not bored, but tempted; afraid, but tempted. When you've been in pain for a long time, when you wake up every morning with a rising sense of hysteria, then boredom is what you want, marathon sleeps, a silence in yourself.” 16 likes
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