Review: Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote


“…the brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries: weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise and find the surface: and why not? any love is natural and beautiful that lies within a person’s nature; only hypocrites would hold a man responsible for what he loves, emotional illiterates and those of righteous envy, who, in their agitated concern, mistake so frequently the arrow pointing to heaven for the one that leads to hell.”

I had a craving for Capote. I just needed some of his perfect prose. Southern Gothic sounded perfect. This book did not disappoint me in this way at all. I’m struggling to think of things to say about this novel, as it’s more of an experience than a reading…

This book follows Joel, a young boy who has to move to his estranged father’s farm after his mother dies. He’s apparently very much modelled on Capote himself, which is quite interesting. He grows up and discovers himself in a rather bleak atmosphere, surrounded by a strange cast of characters and influences.

No character in this book is black and white… they’re all varying shades of grey, not all likeable but not totally detestable either. I particularly liked Missouri, the housekeeper, who was in turns hilarious and devastating.

The writing style was utterly perfect until the last 30 or pages. At that point, it dramatically changed to a stream of consciousness style, which felt really out of place. The writing was still impeccable, but not fitting with the rest of the book.

This was definitely a thought provoking read, which I think will haunt me for a while. Read in companion to To Kill a Mockingbird and it gives an amazing twist on Harper Lee’s work, since Dill is modelled on Capote as a child.

4/5 Stars


8 thoughts on “Review: Other Voices, Other Rooms by Truman Capote

  1. And I’ve heard that the character Idabel Thompkins was modeled on Harper Lee as a child. Being such a big fan of her and To Kill a Mockingbird, I kind of want to read this book just to see what sort of impression she made on Capote.

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