What is the summary for Answered Prayers: The Unfinished Novel?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Ah, the final book of Truman Capote, left unfinished and leaving his readers hanging!  What it reveals is an amazingly truthful (and raw) picture of both low society and high society in Capote's time and, as a result, the settings vary vastly throughout the book, taking the reader on an often bawdy adventure.

This is the story of P.B. Jones who, even though has grown up in a family of the "old rich," is suddenly forced to make his way in the world.  Jones doesn't begin well in that he immediately gets into some really bad stuff that will give more money with less work.  Unfortunately, Jones becomes a hustler as well as a con-man, and he quickly gets caught up into the world of alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. 

This is when the plot thickens because, through his dealings with the lower classes, Jones meets a very beautiful woman accused of both marrying and murdering someone's rich son.  The family does NOT want the news to get out (because it would destroy their place in society).  Meanwhile, Jones gets a proposition from the higher class to resort to organized crime:  kidnapping an homicide.  (Obviously not every woman who marries into money is happy!)  Then there is yet another woman (precursor to PETA?) who shoots a man who kills a white leopard. 

Here is where the novel is obviously unfinished because Capote starts using the names and conversations of those he knew in real life (and especially those fallen out of his favor).  Here Capote exposes everything:  affairs, court battles, ex-spouses, etc.  Many feel that it is here that Capote's unfinished novel becomes a bit pornographic.

In conclusion, keep in mind that the settings bounce back and forth all over the world.  We go from La Côte Basque to Tangiers.  We go from high-society poetry readings to glorified whorehouses.   Still, this is what makes reading the book fun, entertaining, and worth the read.

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