Sunday, April 15, 2018

802 (2018 #25). The Swans of Fifth Avenue

by Melanie Benjamin,
read by Cassandra Campbell and Paul Boehmer

The Swans of Fifth Avenue is about author and gadfly Truman Capote and his "swans," the wealthy socialites he surrounded himself with, in the 1950s and 1960s.  It starts with the aftermath of a short story he writes about some of them, then flashes back to when they originally meet.  None of the characters are particularly likeable.  Truman is self-centered and a gossip; the swans for the most part are shallow and superficial.  Their fascination with Capote is puzzling to me; perhaps he felt the insincerity of many of them, leading to his shocking short story.

And yet - I kept listening to this book, intrigued by them all, even looking everyone up, as I'd only heard of a few of them before and knew very little of those.  Melanie Benjamin's writing drew me in, as did the settings.  And while my attitude towards Truman and most of the women did not change, I did grow to like Barbara "Babe" Paley, the main female character, by the end - I found her to be surprisingly vulnerable.

This audiobook has multiple narrators - veteran Cassandra Campbell reads the female ones and Paul Boehmer reads the males.  Both give Capote a lisp (which he actually had) and an effeminate voice.

© Amanda Pape - 2018

[This e-audiobook was borrowed from and returned to a public library.]

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