The Swans of Fifth Avenue

The Swans of Fifth Avenue

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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When Truman Capote gains access to New York high society, he builds an unlikely friendship with socialite Babe Paley.
Publisher: New York :, Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC,, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780345539755
0345539753
Branch Call Number: eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xvii, 341 pages) :,illustration
text file, rda
Additional Contributors: Axis 360 (Firm)

Opinion

From Library Staff

A gossipy, completely addictive novel about New York’s 1950s elite—known as “Swans”—and the scandalous friendship between socialite Babe Paley and literary legend Truman Capote.


From the critics


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m
mswrite
May 24, 2017

Affected, diminutive Truman Capote and tall, elegant New York socialite Barbara "Babe" Paley were a true Odd Couple, the strangest yet ultimately most compelling love story I think I've ever read. And they really did seem to love one another, to understand one another in ways no one else did, which makes Truman's betrayal almost incomprehensible. (Almost. The seeds can be found in his bleak, chaotic childhood.)

After the astounding success of his 1965 true crime masterwork "In Cold Blood," and his Black & White Ball, the fabulous, over-the-top 1966 gala to end all galas he gave ostensibly for Washington Post publisher Kay Graham but really for himself, Capote seemed ever more desperate to prove to the world (and especially himself) that he still had the gift of serious writing. In 1975 began to publish in Esquire magazine installments of another true-life story, this one a thinly-veiled, gossipy tell-all that spilled the secrets of his famous friends. Though his appalled writer friends tried to warn him, Truman blithely assumed his swans and their husbands would never recognize themselves.

He could not have been more wrong, and therein lies the wrenching climax of Melanie Benjamin's lyrical, poignant tale. Highly recommended.

c
ctkvlk
Mar 08, 2017

Fascinating look into the lives of Truman Capote and his harem. Not so interested in him but got a good history on Babe Paley and others of whom I'd heard but knew little about. It's a novelization but enough fact within to make it educational.

g
Ginger_44
Jan 13, 2017

Historical fiction novels are my absolute favorite to read. This one was no exception. In fact, I felt this book was in a whole other plane compared to all the other historical fiction I've read. Similar to Villa America by Liza Klaussman, this book was about how riches and glamour and fame all eventually fall away to a sad and insecure inner existence. Impeccably written, this book was quite honestly a life-changer for me; by the time the book was finished, I was in tears and left heartbroken about these characters who only focused on wealth, beauty, and gossip throughout their life, yet finding they'd still be turned to dust at the ends of their lives like all the rest of us. The Swans of Fifth Avenue was not only written exquisitely, but also with endless literary components that are bound to engross readers. The metaphors and themes and, in a way, satire, was used so effectively. Five out of five stars. A must read.

AL_LESLEY Nov 22, 2016

A glimpse into a part of history and high living society that I never have known much about. Like the author wrote in her afterword I am very much inspired to learn more about Babe Paley, Slim Keith, Gloria Guinness etc... and most of all to finally read In Cold Blood which I've owned but left unread for ages. I can't claim to have liked anyone, least of all Truman Capote but Melanie Benjamin's passion for her subject shows through and made this an entertaining and enlightening read.

PinesandPrejudice Oct 13, 2016

I wasn't a fan of this. I didn't see the point of their story and didn't feel sympathy or interest in these characters. I understand the time period and appreciate the fact that these stories are told but it wasn't my cup of tea. I was just waiting for it to be over -- I felt like it should have ended a lot sooner than it did.

p
pogags
Oct 03, 2016

Fantastic storytelling from the author of The Aviator's Wife, this story sweeps from one end of Fifth Ave to the other, capturing all the political, racial and cultural mores of the '50-'60s.

f
finn75
Aug 21, 2016

A glimpse into the lives of upper class women of a bygone era. The book examines class, friendship, betrayal and stardom. I can't help but feel that despite the beauty and the attention these women got their lives were painfully empty and Truman Capote despite his self awareness could not help being an attention loving fool.

c
ChaChaRobin
Aug 15, 2016

Light and fluffy, fun read, especially if you have heard of and have any curiosity about the New York "ladies who lunch" or yesteryear, and/or Truman Capote. This book is sort of like an oversized Vanity Fair article without the photos. Enjoyable and mindless.

b
BeckyR21
Jun 14, 2016

Interesting enough that it was worth keeping a few extra days, and pay the late fees, so that I could finish, but ... not so interesting that I couldn't finish it in three weeks.

l
lbeast
Jun 06, 2016

A terrific fictionalized account of a group of people whose lives were basically fiction already. The rise and fall of Truman Capote and the 'scandal' he caused among the rich and shallow. It might help if you lived during that time and remember Capote's writings and his appearances on Johnny Carson. It's almost as if the author was fascinated by the characters, but somewhat objective at the same time. I liked it.

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cals_readers Mar 10, 2016

It was a beacon, a spire, a beacon on top of a spire.

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