Portraits and Observations: The Essays of Truman Capote

Just finished the first essay, New Orleans, written in 1946. Just a short piece about his impression of bits of the town, his random interactions with neighbors. “It was a cold Sunday with a sad gray sun….New Orleans streets have long, lonesome perspectives”. He paints a picture of a fat, black blues singer playing in a small, rundown bar, which I suppose is meant to be a substitute for the entire city. The song the singer sings includes the line, “I want a big fat mama with the meat shakin’ on her yes!” An obvious connection to Bob Dylan’s Tough Mama.

Truman Capote was a seriously great writer. I’m now reading his long piece on the production of Porgy and Bess that went on a tour in Russian during the Cold War. Just fantastic.