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A lost treasure only recently found Truman Capote's Summer Crossing is a precocious confident first novel from one of the twentieth century's greatest writersSet in New York just after World War II the story follows a young carefree socialite Grady McNeil whose parents leave her alone in their Fifth Avenue penthouse for the summer Left to her own devices Grady turns up the heat on the secret affair she's been having with a Brooklyn born Jewish war veteran who works as a parking lot attendant As the season passes the romance turns serious and morally ambiguous and Grady must eventually make a series of decisions that will forever affect her life and the lives of everyone around her


10 thoughts on “Summer Crossing

  1. says:

    Two decades after Capote's death along came Summer Crossing his unpublished first novel written when he was barely out of his teens It was supposedly left behind in his abandoned Brooklyn flat after the huge success of In Cold Blood In the afterward of this book there is uncertainty as to whether he wanted it published at all In 2005 after Philip Seymour Hoffman portrayed Capote uite brilliantly there was a surge in reading him again so it's unsurprising that the deceased author's publishers decided to cash in It bothers me somewhat when unfinished drafts are published after the writer is no longer here unless of course a forgotten masterpiece is unleashed upon the world Sadly this short novel is far from being that but there are flashes of the marvellous writer he turned out to beHis prose here and there is glorious and the seventeen year old central character of Grady McNeil feels like a lighter drawn version of Holly Golightly dazzling in the eyes of those around her but spiralling into a mode of self destructionGrady is inebriated by a great freedom as well as by booze after her parents travel abroad to check out their villa on the Riviera leading Grady on a path to every parent's worst nightmare a teenager gone wild After hanging out with childhood friend Peter Bell who wishes he could marry her she falls for someone who is clearly of a completely different class a poor jewish car park attendant from Brooklyn named Clyde who also happens to be a homophobic macho war veteran And it's here that Capote really struggles as to how to portray Clyde who is a world from the likes of Grady and Peter There is a moment when one is trying to seduce the other in her parent's swanky Fifth Avenue apartment but it all comes across as rather unsexy in the end Over the course of the summer we meet family and lower class friends of Clyde who can be seen as caricatures revealing Capote's disdain for the class which he sprang from One thing Capote does excel on though is his sensuous evocations of New York at the time with the wonders of Broadway the clubs the parties the feeling this really is a city that never sleepsAs a first try at fiction overall it wasn't bad at all But if Breakfast at Tiffany's is a lively cocktail you would want to drink again and again then Summer Crossing would be something along the lines of a weak sparkling wine bubbly sharp but not memorable on the palate


  2. says:

    Somehow I guess Scarlett Johansson intends to make a movie out of this tiny novel about rich people sitting around thinking about rich people things and the poor people who sit around thinking about those rich people sitting around thinking about rich people things Seriously the amount of stuff happening here makes Lost in Translation look like a Michael Bay production in comparison It has plenty of hints of the greatness found in Other Voices Other Rooms the novel Capote rightly abandoned this effort to create but it never reaches that level of haunting loveliness So yeah kinda disappointing but not long enough to be irritatingly so We have a rich society type who is sneaking around behind her snobby family's back to slum it with a rough around the edges parking lot attendant with a secret heart of gold Ish Okay like the turn your finger green sort of gold Then there's the flamboyant better suited best friend who also loves Grady our heroine Ish She smokes some cigarettes smokes some weed has some sexy times mulls over her muddled emotions people talk and don't talk Fin The most lively scenes feature the best friend and I would have probably been generous about this if Capote had developed his character further since Grady is such an insufferable bore The most interesting thing about her is she has a cool dude name something I always wished I had Alex Parker Charlie Grady It's charming right?Maybe the movie will be beautiful but I'm having trouble imagining it being engaging considering the book is though in no way stylistically weak hence three stars pretty clearly something Capote neither finished nor intended to finish An exercise I anticipate long shots of pretty people staring out windows and pensively smoking and maybe a few scenes of naked parts in sheer pink things Could be good I guess Perhaps on silent it will sync with Dark Side of the Moon in some interesting ways We'll see I did like LIT I swearI'll save you the trouble this is not a book review


  3. says:

    Summer Crossing Truman Capote's True First NovelSummer Crossing appears to be Capote's true first novel which he abandoned In fact the manuscript was among papers left in an apartment in the care of a house sitter Capote instructed the house sitter to put all papers on the street to be picked up as garbage The anonymous house sitter recognized the value of what Capote considered trash holding on to the caches of papers including this novel for than fifty years until his death A relative of the house sitter who also recognized the value of the lost Truman papers swiftly carted them off to Sotheby's Through Capote's Literary Trust and some negotiation with Sotheby's the Trust successfully protected the publication rights to all papers The sale would be limited to physical possession of the documents but the purchaser could do nothing by way of publication of any of the documents Ironically not one person bid on the Truman papers thanks to the legal maneuvering of the Truman Literary Trust Today the papers are in their proper place with other known Capote papers at the New York Public Library Summer Crossing was published in 2004 by Random HouseThe big uestion is why didn't Capote want Summer Crossing published Robert Linscott Capote's editor at Random House told him it was too conventional that it was good but it did not reach the level of excellence Capote had achieved with his short fiction In fact Linscott told Capote that any writer could have written itPerhaps the deciding factor was Capote's lover's opinion Jack Dunphy told him that the novel was thin a word that sends a chill up the spine of any writer Capote told Linscott he had torn the novel up The further I read in Clarke's biography Capote the I become convinced that truth was a very relative word to Capote At times Capote seems to have invented his life story as he went alongSummer Crossing refers to two distinct crossings during a long hot summer in New York Lucy and Lamont McNeil are making an Atlantic crossing to see what the Germans have left of their European holdings Crossing on the ueen Mary Oh yes They're uite wealthy They have a penthouse apartment on 5th Avenue While away Lucy intends on the finest fashion designers to make their daughter Grady's Debutante dressThe second crossing is Grady's from adolescent to woman She is seventeen Going to Paris is of no interest to her whatsoever Mrs McNeil thinks that young Peter Bell is the reason for Grady's reluctance to leave the city for the Summer However Grady only considers Peter her best friendWhy oh why couldn't Grady be like her older sister Apple married with child nice house go getter husband? Apple which happened to be the only thing Lucy could eat during her pregnancy leaves her supposedly older and wiser daughter to look after Grady So it goesThe Second World War is over New York is an exciting place to be A girl has lots of opportunitiesBeing the rebellious sort Grady falls for Clyde Manzer a parking lot attendant where she keeps her baby blue convertible Buick a veteran who bulges with every muscle he built during the war a full head of wavy black hair and a way of showing his appreciation for a good looking girl Taking a girl to the Central Park Zoo will do it every timeClyde invites Grady to meet his family to attend his nephew's bar mitzvah Oh? I didn't tell you he was Jewish? And you were wondering where the conflict was coming in Let's call it culturalClyde's family can't figure out why he's bringing a shiksa blonde home with him Conflict ensues when Clyde's sister Ida invites Clyde's nice Jewish fiancee Rebecca over to join the party There that should liven things up Yes it sure doesClyde moves into Grady's parents penthouse apartment Hormones and pheromones are erupting left and right Bodily fluids are exchanged on a regular basis In that maddening state of love what's a star crossed couple to do but go over to Jersey and get married at 2am?Then what should Grady discover but she is PREGNANT Mother and Father are due back in less than a monthApple suggests they call a doctor to fix things However Grady reminds her of a friend they lost who bled to death on a public toiletWhat to do what to do? Ladies Home Journal January 1946Yes Never underestimate the power of a woman But can this marriage be saved? I'm not going to tell you You'll just have to read it yourselfJust know that Grady has many rivers to cross The ueensborough BridgeYou may consider my review a bit flippant I suppose it is Grady's naivete can be grating But this book is worth the read Hmmm this might be considered the first Truman Capote Summer Beach ReadHere are the halting beginnings of a master observer of human behavior Capote was only nineteen when he submitted the draft to Random House I understand Capote keeping it under wraps He knew he could do better But I daresay if not for the booze and the drugs Capote would have returned to this one one day It would have been a helluva book too Yet even in her naivete I can see the character of Holly Golightly taking shape that would explode from the pages of Breakfast at Tiffany'sIn a way it is fitting that Summer Crossing a novel Capote did not want published and Answered Prayers The Unfinished Novel serve as odd bookends to a remarkable literary lifeThis one draws a 35 rating


  4. says:

    Like Harper Lee her friend Truman Capote had a book that he drafted and then abandoned never meaning for it to be published  As with Ms Lee someone decided to publish Capote's unfinished business anyway  It's  short  and uickly  over so little time to fret over it I greatly enjoyed it  There isn't much plot or character development but that man knew how to put a beautiful sentence together  The ending is one I didn't see coming and left me wondering what will happen next until I realized I knew without a doubt


  5. says:

    You published that mess? Oh darling no is probably what Capote said from his grave about Summer Crossing a posthumously published early work This sketch about a confused young girl's misguided love needs polish a whole lotta polish There are lines within a generally beautifully written Summer Crossing that stick out for their clunky dullness Thus it reads like the first draft that it is a first draft written by a master wordsmith mind you But as Hemingway said The first draft of anything is shit


  6. says:

    I adored this book It may not be as polished as many of his later works and some of the characters not half as developed but it's a nice little novella to read on a warm sunny afternoon and there are some moments within it that are simply magical written so beautifully that the hairs on the back of my neck stood up Although some may argue that there are not nearly enough of these moments to make reading the book worthwhile I would argue that its rough and ready nature is what makes it so alluringGrady McNeil is something a bit different by way of a heroine and she seems to have very little knowledge of what she wants and what she needs but she is enticing enough for the reader to be completely absorbed in her worldThe ending is confusing and not uite in keeping with the rest of the novel but maybe this could be because Mr Capote had no idea where to take it and so he just allowed it to reach a rather literal dead endWe will never know but although hardly his best work there's something abit magical in every page of this book


  7. says:

    Shocking ending for seemingly like a romantic comedy This has verve and is direct than his Breakfast at Tiffany's 4 stars The slow build worked for me While reading I was taking this book lightly because I almost always doubt this manuscript of a dead famous writer found in the cellarattic of his house thing It is either there really is a manuscript but it is unfinished eg Suite Française 1 star or maybe the author did not really want his book to be published In either case the book would only appeal to eager beaver fans of the authorHowever I still prefer Breakfast over this one because this has a thinner plot less interesting conflicts and fewer memorable characters Capote did not want this to be published because he thought that this was thin clever unfelt Source Wiki After all this was his first written novel His first published work that made him known was his Other Voices Other RoomsGrady is a 17 yo girl who decides not to join her parents and sister to the family's annual vacation This time in France The reason? She is eyeing this good looking boy who mans the parking lot She is pretty tall cropped blond hair flawless skin so she is not thirsty for attention In fact she foregoes of Peter who is eually handsome and lovable Grady fancies the parking attendant whose name is Clyde Sounds like a Harleuin book right? Yes that was the reason why up to that part halfway of the book I took it lightly You see I am in this uest of completing all the Capote books I am his fan and I'd like to be his completist ie a reader who has read all of the author's mainpublished works This is my second to the last CapoteBut the ending is jaw dropping I did not expect it I was loving the common local touch of Capote and I thought that this was his version of Bonjour tristesse 3 stars because Capote was 24 when he wrote this novel with a 17 yo as the female main protagonist However Capote is Capote and he is better in my opinion than Francoise Sagan and Capote proved it by giving the final punch towards the end of the novel Sagan got knocked out The ending decides the winnerNicely done


  8. says:

    I adored this bookBeautifully writtenSparkling poetic lyrical proseGrady is a witty heroine who I lovedWonderful setting of 1920's New YorkAlthough there was an underlying sense of dread as the book reached it's climaxA little gem of a book which will become a favourite of mineSo glad it was published


  9. says:

    Whilst Truman Capote’s Summer Crossing was the first novel which the author penned it was discovered posthumously and was first published in 2005 The executors of his will were in two minds about whether it should be made readily available to the public and I for one am so glad that it was I feel privileged to be able to read Capote’s work in all of its forms but there is something about Summer Crossing almost being hidden from public eyes which makes me all the thankful to have been able to engross myself into the story Summer Crossing is set in post World War II New York The focus is upon a seventeen year old girl ‘a young carefree socialite’ named Grady McNeil Her parents go off to England – thus taking the ‘summer crossing’ of the novel’s title – and leave her alone in their Fifth Avenue penthouse for the summer The blurb succinctly described how this impacts upon Grady’s life ‘Left to her own devices Grady turns up the heat on the secret affair she’s been having with a Brooklyn born Jewish war veteran who works as a parking lot attendant As the season passes the romance turns serious and morally ambiguous and Grady must eventually make a series of decisions that will forever affect her life and the lives of everyone around her’Even before I began to read I was expecting to find a heroine like Breakfast at Tiffany's uirky Holly Golightly There are similarities between Grady and Holly of course but Grady is also something wholly original – she is a distinct character in her own right who has been built to perfection and comes to life before the very eyes She is a vivid creation and one who dances around in the mind for weeks after the final page of her tale is closed Capote launches into her family dynamic immediately and so much is learnt about the characters in just the first few pages in conseuence The friction which exists between Grady’s parents and her elder sister Apple has been perfectly portrayed – so much so that we are aware of it straight away The social and gender ineualities which he points out as the plot gathers speed help to ground Grady’s story in place and time Capote’s understanding of the human psyche comes across as intelligently as is possible on the pageI adore the premise of Summer Crossing and would have been thrilled to come across it if it had been by another author The mere fact that it was penned by Truman Capote however put it on something of a pedestal to me and I was so excited to see how such an intriguing storyline would work when coupled with his beautiful and distinctive writing in its earliest stages The Modern Library edition’s blurb calls it a ‘precocious confident first novel’; to an extent it is but upon reading it it feels like so much Whilst it is slim – the edition which I read ran to only 126 pages – it touches upon so many themes and its plot is constructed of a weight of layers each of which comes together beautifully upon its conclusionAs I invariably am I was struck by Capote’s writing throughout Summer Crossing; his descriptions particularly hold such beauty ‘whose green estimating eyes were like scraps of sea’ ‘bones of fish spine delicacy’ ‘dream trapped faces’ ‘joyful dark’ and ‘evening effigies embalmed and floating in the caramel sweet air’ are just a few examples The way in which Capote uses words is masterful; he builds scenes in such a stunning manner and ensures that everything he describes is as vivid as it can possibly be For a debut novel Summer Crossing feels incredibly polished and wonderfully wrought I was swept away into the story from the very first page It is fascinating to see how Capote has developed as a writer from these beginnings but this novel is just as strong surprising and well plotted as his later work


  10. says:

    I can easily say this is definitely the best book I've ever read that was rescued from a trash can Confederacy of Dunces was under his bed right? This was a novel Truman abandoned in 1943 to write his debut Other Voices Other Rooms After his success with In Cold Blood he moved out of his Brooklyn apartment for Manhattan instructing the remaining contents of his apartment be put out on the curb for collection The Super salvaged a box full of papers that included this manuscript Nobody knew about this until it came up for auction in 2004 and was subseuently published It's a uick six chapters about a small but intense cast of mentally unstable characters set during a New York summer as the heat closed in like a hand over a murder victim's mouth the city thrashed and twisted but with its outcry muffled itsank into a coma I think this ualifies as a genre that I'm slowly becoming aware I've constructed for myself and deeply enjoy Franny Zooey Leon The Professional etc If you already love Truman Capote you've probably already read this and so forget itI immediately had a sense of recognition while reading these two passagesWhat infinite energies are wasted steeling oneself against crisis that seldom comes the strength to move mountains; and yet it is perhaps this very waste this torturous wait for things that never happen which prepares the way and allows one to accept with sinister sincerity the beast at last in viewMost of life is so dull it is not worth discussing and it is dull at all ages When we change our brand of cigarette move to a new neighborhood subscribe to a different newspaper fall in and out of love we are protesting in ways both frivolous and deep against the not to be diluted dullness of day to day living Unfortunately one mirror is as treacherous as another reflecting at some point in every adventure the same vain unsatisfied face and so when she asks what have I done? she means really what am I doing? as one usually does