“Yes: but aren’t love and marriage notoriously synonymous in the minds of most women? Certainly very few men get the first without promising the second: love, that is – if it’s just a matter of spreading her legs, almost any woman will do that for nothing.”
My copy of Truman Capote’s Summer Crossing is now little more than a sandy, soggy mess. This slim volume accompanied me to the beach yesterday, and after a few hours of avid reading, interspersed with some languid swims, the oppressive New York summer of 1945 and a sultry Sydney December seemed a world apart. This is the story of a wealthy young socialite, Grady, alone in her parents’ penthouse for the summer; what begins as a heady romance with the Brooklyn-born parking attendant, Clyde, quickly descends into a claustrophobic and ultimately tragic affair. Truman vividly evokes the emotions, doubts and fears of the characters, seemingly interwoven with the intense heatwave that envelops the city.
This novella was thought to have been abandoned by the author in 1944, only to be uncovered some 50 years later as a complete manuscript. The luminous writing and refined narrative are as evident in this early work as in Capote’s later classics In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.