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Other Voices, Other Rooms
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Group Reads: Pre-1990 > Initial Impressions: Other Voices, Other Rooms: May 2018

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message 1: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Mathews | 2749 comments Mod
Comments on this board should be written with the assumption that not all readers have finished the book. Please avoid revealing any spoilers.


Dustincecil | 178 comments I'm in, and looking forward to this.


ALLEN | 138 comments No spoiler here: "[Truman Capote] is the most perfect writer of my generation, he writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm."

-Norman Mailer


message 4: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Mathews | 2749 comments Mod
I have my copy from the library.


message 5: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
I'll start this in the next couple of days. Read it a long time ago, but remember liking it.


message 6: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
On page 33, and his descriptions of the landscape are already seducing me. To write like this at 23! What a gift.


ALLEN | 138 comments I agree, and it helps me understand how the Capote of 12 years later could craft the immense IN COLD BLOOD, with such apparent throwaway lines as "the day's arid glitter" and "pheasant-hunting splendor" (fall in Finney County, Kansas).


message 8: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
I could already quote several beauties that are just perfect.


ALLEN | 138 comments . . . but we can't, not yet. Well, only a couple of days remaining!
(The allegorical names are enough for a course of study!)


message 10: by John (new) - added it

John | 539 comments ok you guys. All these books on my night stand, four of them. Now I'm in on this one. On request from the Prescott library. All because of Allen, with a supporting cast of Diane. All these years and I think the only thing of his I have read had something to do with Christmas. I just can't keep up with ;you all.

Bless your page turning hearts


ALLEN | 138 comments "Make me one with everything."

You should read this novel, John. Wide-open discussion starts in two days.


message 12: by John (last edited Apr 29, 2018 07:07PM) (new) - added it

John | 539 comments I can imagine you standing in front of a ball park with a dog in hand knowing nirvana is through the turnstile.

Chop wood
Carry water
Enlightenment


ALLEN | 138 comments Have you been to Chicago, John? Our dogs are special.
And no ketchup on them!


message 14: by John (last edited Apr 29, 2018 07:06PM) (new) - added it

John | 539 comments Chicago, yes in my 30's, 30 yrs ago. Saw a Monet exhibit, water lilies, moved to tears. Museum of history, The El, a gal and i went to the UP. A good trip.

Partial to chili dogs myself


ALLEN | 138 comments I remember that exhibit.


message 16: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
I was in Chicago once, about 38 years ago. I remember 2 things: Flying in, the size of Lake Superior amazed me, I couldn't see across it, and it had waves! Did not fit my definition of a lake. And downtown, the temperature in the sidewalks was at least 10 degrees cooler than outside the city because of the shade of the skyscrapers. Country comes to town!


message 17: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
For potential readers, I will say that if this is your first Capote novel, it will be a southern gothic to enjoy and introduce yourself to his prose. For those who know a little about his life and history, this will be a completely different novel. Both excellent reads. I have been in both places, many years apart.


message 18: by ALLEN (last edited May 01, 2018 06:09AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ALLEN | 138 comments I like the allegorical import of place names: Joel spends the night in "Noon City," the last outpost of general American economy and affluence, as he makes his way to Skully's ("skull!") landing, where decrepitude and death are lurking menaces.


Camie | 105 comments I have only read Capote's In Cold Blood , so I'm guessing this ones going to be far different. I have it and I'm planning to get to it soon.


Dustincecil | 178 comments starting tonight. Really looking forward to this.


ALLEN | 138 comments Are Florabel and Idabel supposed to represent different sexual orientations?


message 22: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
I see Idabell as Joel's counterpart. A girl needing to be accepted for who she is, not who she should be.


ALLEN | 138 comments I find it interesting that Idabell, while superficially obnoxious, nonetheless gets the respect of her sister and of Joel, who has just met her.

I hope I won't introduce a spoiler when I say that sexuality plays a role in this book.


Dustincecil | 178 comments 40 pages in, and I can already tell this is going to be too way too short.


message 25: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
It is a short book, Dustin, but I think that brevity gives it more power. Time gets condensed, so you're never sure exactly how long anything really takes.


message 26: by ALLEN (last edited May 03, 2018 05:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ALLEN | 138 comments I think this is a really good book, too, esp. for a beginner's novel. The compression-of-time quality, I believe, was a sophisticated literary technique for its time (late forties). I am grateful to all the people who made this group read possible.

As the book progresses, it seems to me that Joel is a curious mixture of sophistication and naivete -- probably like Capote himself at that age. Perhaps readers here already know that he was the model for little "Dill" in the book/movie of Nell Harper Lee's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.


message 27: by John (new) - added it

John | 539 comments I can't rem;ember who Dill was.

Well whaddya know Dustin, I'm 40 pgs in too.


Dustincecil | 178 comments I couldn't stop thinking about Dill...


message 29: by ALLEN (last edited May 03, 2018 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ALLEN | 138 comments John, think of the little towheaded boy who showed up one summer in the movie version of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: "Folks call me Dill." That was based on Capote. This was not far from real life, as Nell Harper Lee and Truman Parsons (later Capote) knew each other from childhood on.

Dustincecil, I hope I didn't ruin the reading experience of OTHER VOICES for you!


Dustincecil | 178 comments free online version available on open library..

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet....


message 31: by ALLEN (last edited May 03, 2018 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ALLEN | 138 comments Dustincecil wrote: "free online version available on open library..

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet...."


Thank you, digital library of India.
And thank you all the more so, Dustincecil.

Okay, nobody who wants to read OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS has a reason not to, based on mere lack of werewithal.


message 32: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Mathews | 2749 comments Mod
I love his powers of description:

As to the freakish old house, no one has lived there for God knows how long, and it is said that once three exquisite sisters were raped and murdered here in a gruesome manner by a fiendish Yankee bandit who rode a silver-grey horse and wore a velvet cloak stained scarlet with the blood of Southern womanhood; when told by antiquated ladies claiming one-time acquaintance with the beautiful victims, it is a tale of Gothic splendor. The windows of the house are cracked and shattered, hollow as eyeless sockets; a rotted balcony leans perilously forward, and yellow sunflower birds hide their nests in its secret places; the scaling outer walls are ragged with torn, weather-faded posters that flutter when there is a wind.



message 33: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
That was a great paragraph, especially the Fiendish Yankee Bandit part. We all know about them!


message 34: by John (new) - added it

John | 539 comments Them Damned Yankees!

Birds, and I've seen more birds. Amy and the blue jay, I wonder if they are a recurring element. And of course, Idabel is pretty flighty herself.

I aint making any promises but there may be a quiz at the end of ths show.


Dustincecil | 178 comments he makes it seem as easy as breathing... I also love his smirky sense of humor.


message 36: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Mathews | 2749 comments Mod
John wrote: "I aint making any promises but there may be a quiz at the end of ths show."

Oh please, Make a promise!


message 37: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane Barnes | 4421 comments Mod
Don't forget the snakes.


message 38: by John (new) - added it

John | 539 comments ha ha


ALLEN | 138 comments Can I help write the quiz?
If not, can I help set the curve?


message 40: by John (new) - added it

John | 539 comments Sure Allen any one can help. Basically send me a question w answer via GR mail I'll do the rest. If you want to send three wrong answers that helps. I try to make the wrong ones a little obvious but not give aways. We gotta keep it simple for Tom


ALLEN | 138 comments Ignore the first question -- it was experimental.
Am sending corrected question -- with answer.


message 42: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Mathews | 2749 comments Mod
John wrote: "We gotta keep it simple for Tom.."

Hey! Your anti-Yankee bias is showing. I'll have you know I scored 29 on the Mudbound quiz.


message 43: by John (new) - added it

John | 539 comments Good boy Too.
Actually I'm a Prescott AZ guy. We treat everybody the same


Wyndy | 241 comments I have finished the book and wanted to give a shout-out to DustinCecil for nominating this one. I do enjoy a book that forces me to think. That ending definitely tested my brain cells.


message 45: by John (new) - added it

John | 539 comments once again we find ourselves in a story that catches us between the dusty mule trodden dirt path and the advent of the automobile. I think of the Tompkins girls riding/following Jesus Fever in the Skully's wagon.

I also notice a recurrence of birds and birdish descriptions.
re Florabel: she talked rapidly in a flighty, too birdlike manner,as if mimicking a certain type of old lady.

....and finally, when first i came across Missouri I read her as Misery. Shades to come perhaps?


message 46: by ALLEN (last edited May 14, 2018 08:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ALLEN | 138 comments Capote fan film update: A biopic on TV later tonite (May 13)! At eleven p.m. Chicago (CDT) time, midnight New York (EDT): CAPOTE, the 2005 biopic starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. An IMDb 7.4, 90 percent on the Tomatometer. It concerns the story behind IN COLD BLOOD and thus has no spoiler potential for OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS.
[...]
Painless background into "Tru's" life and times ca. 1959-66.


message 47: by L.K. (new) - added it

L.K. Simonds | 18 comments Hi. I don’t know if you read The Mockingbird Next Door, but in it Marja Mills wrote that Harper Lee thought the Seymour Hoffman film was spot on, as in “How did they know?” Mockingbird Next Door is a great read for Harper Lee fans, and who isn’t a Harper Lee fan? Haha.


message 48: by Tom, "Big Daddy" (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tom Mathews | 2749 comments Mod
I'm finally getting to the home stretch with this book and I confess that it has been a struggle to read the last half. It definitely qualifies as a southern novel, though. I just read the part where the mule hanged himself.


message 49: by ALLEN (last edited May 14, 2018 09:13AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ALLEN | 138 comments L K wrote: "Hi. I don’t know if you read The Mockingbird Next Door, but in it Marja Mills wrote that Harper Lee thought the Seymour Hoffman film was spot on, as in “How did they know?” Mockingbird Next Door is..."

L.K.: I did read The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee and am trying to remember if that was where I came across the shocking and revisionist insight that Herb Clutter of IN COLD BLOOD was much more of a religious fanatic than Capote's masterpiece made him appear: the cross or image of Jesus (Sallman portrait??) in almost every room, the rigidity of how Herb laid out the house he designed himself (though I for one thought it clever to give himself the most advantageous lookout point from his business office -- day or night, farm families always want to know whose car is crunching up the gravel on the way to their side door.)

Herb's emotional inaccessibility and religious rigidity form the one revision I see to Gerald Clark's immaculate reportage of the IN COLD BLOOD story in his Capote -- the house tour in which Tru and Nell "Methodists playing Baptists" religiously, were shocked by how Herb's religiosity played out -- he wasn't opposed to just alcohol or smoking, but his personality clamped down hard on family affection. Tru and Nell, for obviously commercial reasons, decided to severely downplay this very un-Father Knows Best behavior, which they found shocking in an obviously affluent Methodist family like the Clutters.

The CAPOTE movie makes excellent use of Catherine Keener as Nell Harper Lee, and her take on the (Lee's words) "Jiminy Cricket" or moral bellwether function of keeping Tru true to himself and his goals. I have to admit that the more Geo. Plimpton-inspired INFAMOUS, which played the following year (2006), has more fun and thus more comic relief. Do you recall this radical thing Babe Paley and friends did for her husband, Wm. Paley of CBS?

* * * * * * *

"Big Daddy" Tom -- No harm no foul. Lots of people don't care for OTHER VOICES, OTHER ROOMS. Consider this your "basic training" into the Capote imagination, in a Southern Gothick style he never played out so abundantly again, not even in shorter work.

In a few days I'll post a few words on the final "Impressions" thread from Gerald Clarke's book about what OTHER VOICES means to Capote's life and sexuality -- no, I am not the guy's paid agent but he summed up the book's themes so well that I found myself agreeing with him and wishing I'd "thunk" his analysis so well.

Please don't let it put you off the other T.C. books. Lots of folks will admire you for having read the book but may wonder why you didn't read some of his more fully-formed stuff after that (assuming you haven't yet).

Capote by Gerald Clarke In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


Dustincecil | 178 comments I remember almost peeing my pants laughing so hard in "infamous" when TC talks about carwheeling down the street!


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