Antilibrary

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Posts Tagged ‘truman capote

Other voices, other rooms

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Alana

This summer, I set a goal for myself to read at least 10 books. Two of the books I ended up reading were written by Truman Capote; a collection of essays called “The Dogs Bark” as well as his first novel, “Other Voices, Other Rooms.” Capote wrote “Other Voices” when he was only 21, and it is often overlooked by the literary community, despite its fame and positive reception when released in the late 1940s. It is considered to be one of the first books to blatantly address issues of homosexuality and gender identity, yet has somehow become lost to the cannon, overshadowed by his famous non-fiction novel, “In Cold Blood.” That’s usually the only book people think of when they hear Truman Capote. A select few also know that he wrote “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

“Other Voices, Other Rooms” is a novel about a 13 year-old boy named Joel who is summoned to move from New Orleans, where he had been residing with his aunt after his mother’s death, to the rural south to live with the father he has never met. He encounters many odd and neurotic characters, like his flamboyant (and possibly transgendered) “cousin” Randolph and a mean tomboy named Idabel.

The story is told from Joel’s perspective, yet is described through the language of a much older narrator. The language that Capote uses, particularly his descriptions of nature, was what really drew me into the story. It intrigued me so much so that I’ll be addressing that aspect of the book in my upcoming English senior comprehensive project. The descriptions of nature seem to correspond to Joel’s mood as well as his emotional development. Capote has a way of describing common sights in nature in a completely unique and visceral way that also helps to heighten the mood and action occurring at the same time. The prose is beautiful and you get a feel for the sights and sounds of the deep south.

The plot of the novel is captivating, and propels the reader to continue on Joel’s journey along with him. The characters are rich, unique, and at times even a bit frightening. I recommend it highly for anyone looking to read some new fiction. Check out “The Dogs Bark” if essays are more of your cup of tea (however, they are personal essays and travel stories, so they read a lot like fiction). Both are excellent works by Capote.

Written by Alana

October 15, 2008 at 4:58 am

Posted in fiction

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