Secret Paros

Truman Capote’s breakfasts in Paros

February 25, 2014
Naoussa village in northern Paros. The island was once visited by the author Truman Capote.

If you love the works of Truman Capote, you might be surprised to hear that you have one more thing in common. Allow us to reveal the identity of one of our most favorite islanders: Truman Capote! The famous novelist spent a memorable summer in Paros in the late 1950s and as you may imagine, he did not neglect to share his new passion for the Cycladic island through letters and postcards. Click to find out more!

Truman Capote, in his U.N. Plaza apartment, parodies the famous 1948 author photo of himself that was used for his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms. Photo: Arnold Newman/Getty Images

Truman Capote, in his U.N. Plaza apartment, parodies the famous 1948 author photo of himself
that was used for his first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms. Photo: Arnold Newman/Getty Images

 

Truman Capote sought the sere desert spaces simply because, he said “I wanted to try the desert. I never have. I wrote one book on the island of Paros, another on a mountaintop in Sicily, another in Morocco (…)”

 

In a letter to Random House publisher and co-founder Bennett Cerf, written from Páros, Greece, in the summer of 1958, Truman promised that he was in fact working on “a large novel, my magnum opus, a book about which I must be very silent. . . . The novel is called, ‘Answered Prayers’; and, if all goes well, I think it will answer mine.” But before he could write it, another work took over Truman’s life: In Cold Blood. Begun in 1959, it would consume six years of his life—most of it spent living in Kansas, a world away from the New York society he loved and from the city where he felt he belonged.

 

Capote would not hide his soft spot for Paros, where he spend one of his life’s most memorable summers. It was the summer of 1958, after he had completed his novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s. At that time he had been negotiating with major magazines about the publication of his novel and as he was marvelling at the view from his hotel room in Parikia. He wrote many letters to his friends and publisher, inviting them to join him and describing the island as a remote, secluded place where he was happy enough because, among others, he would not meet a single foreigner. The beauties of Parikia, the sea, the sun and the tranquility were the ideal setting for him: “it will be a good place to work, because there is nothing else to do here”

 

Truman Capote was an aficionado of Greece and considered Paros as his personal heaven on earth: “There is no other place in the world that we loved this much. Absolutely beautiful”. Just the sun, the sea and the serenity.

A postcard featuring a black and white photo of Paros sent from Truman Capote to Boris Groudinko, 1960s

A postcard featuring a black and white photo of Paros sent from Truman Capote to Boris Groudinko, 1960s

 

TRUMAN CAPOTE.Paros, Greece, 1958. On left message side of verso of picture postcard depicting Paros, Greece. Addressed by Capote to John Dapper, Brooklyn, New York. In full: "I am expecting a very large package from California (maybe it will come from Mexico); it is being sent in care of you. When it comes, could you just put it downstairs in the apartment? Bless you. If you and Lyman are still planning to travel this autumn,strongly recommend you come here rather than Sicily. This (sic) perfect. Love to both."

TRUMAN CAPOTE.Paros, Greece, 1958.
On left message side of verso of picture postcard depicting Paros, Greece. Addressed by Capote to John Dapper, Brooklyn, New York.
In full: “I am expecting a very large package from California (maybe it will come from Mexico); it is being sent in care of you. When it comes, could you just put it downstairs in the apartment? Bless you. If you and Lyman are still planning to travel this autumn,strongly recommend you come here rather than Sicily. This (sic) perfect. Love to both.”

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