Alcoholic Authors IV

Here is part four of my Alcoholic Authors series.

Truman Capote 

Truman Capote

(September 30th 1924 – August 25th 1984)

Notable works: In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Born Truman Streckfus Persons, Capote went on to become a prolific writer of short stories, novels, plays and nonfiction, whose accomplishments include at least twenty films and television dramas having been produced from his works.

Capote, who had a turbulent upbringing marred by divorce, long absences from his mother and periods of poor health started writing at a young age.  By his late teens he had achieved considerable success and with the novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958) and the true crime novel In Cold Blood (1966) international renown.

The author was a notorious heavy drinker.  While writing In Cold Blood, Capote would allegedly have a double martini before lunch, another with lunch and a stinger after.  On numerous occasions he sought help in various clinics, including Silver Hill in Connecticut, after being arrested for drink driving in Long Island.  However he was to never kick his addiction, dying aged fifty-nine from liver cancer.

Capote once famously said, ‘I drink,’ …. ‘because it’s the only time I can stand it.’

Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski

(August 16th 1920 – March 9th 1994)   

Notable works: Post Office, Factotum, Pulp.

The German born Bukowski was a novelist, poet, short-story writer and columnist, who was described by Time in 1986 as a ‘laureate of American lowlife.’  His writing included the acclaimed novel Post Office, a semi-autobiographical account of Bukowski’s hand-to-mouth years existence whilst employed in a menial job at the post office and Pulp, a humorous  and vulgar parody of the detective/mystery genre.  The author’s writing was heavily influenced by his home city of Los Angeles.

Bukowski started drinking at aged thirteen and never looked back.  A prodigious smoker and bar frequenter, he was a controversial figure renowned for his bravado.  In later years the author preferred to drink at home, more often than not whiskey being his beverage of choice.  Though by his own admission he suffered three hundred hang-overs a year, Bukowski never quit the habit.  Despite this extraordinary excess he lived to the relatively old age of seventy-three.

Bukowski once said, ‘Alcohol is probably one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth – alongside of me.’

Click on the links to read my reviews of Post Office and Pulp.

If you missed it here is Part III of my Alcoholic Authors series.


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