A FRIEND noticed Such Good Friends on my table and scoffed, “Candy!” Maybe, but candy can be a Mars bar or it can be Teuscher’s Champagne Truffles. Stephen Greco’s book is the highest form of confection I’ve read in years.
The premise is simple: a 21-year-old aristo, Marlene, a refugee from Castro’s Cuba, finds a much-needed housekeeper position with Princess Lee Radziwill, née Bouvier. The year is 1961, and among Jackie Kennedy’s sister’s closest pals and confidantes is writer Truman Capote. Over the years, Marlene becomes a friend, sounding board, sometime advisor, and coauthor, to Truman and Lee. She’s a close-up witness to the historical, and quite dramatic, events of several Social Register families’ lives and times. Capote is omnipresent as the wittily commenting, often instigating, diminutive author during his seemingly unstoppable ascent and then his equally steep dive into perdition. It’s all here: the marriages and divorces, the assassinations and theater failures, the Bouvier girls’ competition over billionaires, the amazing parties, the vacations in the Mediterranean, the multiple Town & Country homes, the power brokering, the astounding decors and one of a kind fashions, the high gossip and low maneuvering. There’s never a dull moment.
Felice Picano’s latest book is A Bard on Hercular.