Toronto — How do you define a writer whose chief game plan was to escape definition? Today that seems almost the only true way to pin down Truman Capote: by calling him un-pinnable.

What on earth was he? Who was this mincing prince of New York high society who became a gritty nonfiction novelist? Who was this loving fantasist of the demimonde who became, with his last, unfinished novel Answered Prayers — an epic project based on the lives and characters of his friends (some of whom soon became non-friends) — an acid-spitting diarist, a poison-tipped Proust?..

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