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A dazzling debut about Truman Capote, the literary icon of his age, and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his Swans.

'A completely fascinating novel and a marvellously skillful re-imagining of real people, times and places. Outstanding.' -William Boyd
They told him everything.
He told everyone else.

Over countless martini-soaked Manhattan lunches, they shared their deepest secrets and greatest fears. On exclusive yachts sailing the Mediterranean, on private jets streaming towards Jamaica, on Yucatán beaches in secluded bays, they gossiped about sex, power, money, love and fame. They never imagined he would betray them so absolutely.

In the autumn of 1975, after two decades of intimate friendships, Truman Capote detonated a literary grenade, forever rupturing the elite circle he’d worked so hard to infiltrate. Why did he do it, knowing what he stood to lose? Was it to punish them? To make them pay for their manners, money and celebrated names? Or did he simply refuse to believe that they could ever stop loving him? Whatever the motive, one thing remains indisputable: nine years after achieving wild success with In Cold Blood, Capote committed an act of professional and social suicide with his most lethal of weapons . . . Words.

A dazzling debut about the line between gossip and slander, self-creation and self-preservation, SWAN SONG is the tragic story of the literary icon of his age and the beautiful, wealthy, vulnerable women he called his Swans.

‘Writers write. And one can’t be surprised if they write what they know.’

Reviews

A dazzlingly assured first novel... This clever book, with the moreish astringency of a negroni, is a perfect summer cocktail

The Sunday Times

Gorgeous... That glittering world - all Dom Perignon, Sobranies, Quaalude and Chanel - is recreated with a lovely eye for detail

Robbie Millen, The Times

A sparkling debut vividly captures the high society women who punished Capote for his indiscreet reporting

The Guardian

A whirlwind of a first novel. There is great pathos in the Swans’ woundings and in their inevitable decline. And the character of Truman himself shimmers through the novel in a wonderful blaze of eccentricity and excess. Outstanding.

Rose Tremain

This is a first novel of extraordinary skill, a book of which Capote would have been proud

Alex Preston, The Observer

A completely fascinating novel and a marvellously skillful re-imagining of real people, times and places. Outstanding.

William Boyd

If a writer is going to craft a novel from well-known events, they might as well do it with brio, which this has in spades…A skilled and sparking debut

Suzi Feay, Guardian

Our generation’s The Secret History

Pendora

[A] seductive spellbinding debut... Greenberg-Jephcott beautifully captures the pain and poignancy alongside the privilege

S Magazine, Sunday Express

A moving account of Capote's own giddy, talent-fuelled ascent and the self-destructive plummet that follows

Mail on Sunday

Brilliantly written, deeply researched, funny, sharp and moving, this wonderful book marks the debut of a major talent.

Kate Williams, bestselling author of Josephine

A first novel of extraordinary skill, a book which Capote – even at his best – would have been proud.

Alex Preston, Observer

Scandalous, frenetic, amusing and tragic, this throws open the doors to a privileged world driven by money, sex, power and influence, where stakes are high and, when trust is broken, there’s much to lose.

Daily Mail

Swan Song is a whirlwind tour of private jets to Mexico resorts, playboys’ yachts in the Mediterranean, Manhattan martini lunches and so much scandal ... [A] riveting novel

Red

a fascinating look at American high society in the Sixties and Seventies, and a portrait of a talented writer who couldn’t resist gossip, even if meant ruining his life

Stylist

Triumphant debut…remarkable

Woman & Home

Simultaneously fabulous and tragic, Swan Song is an incredibly accomplished debut

Attitude

A vivid debut … based on ten years of research, this is a dazzling read that’s been worth the wait

Image Magazine

Stunning... It’s probably one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever owned

Bookish Chat Blog

Hypnotically fascinating

The Arts Desk

Greenberg-Jephcott's debut is a devastating read that blurs the lines between vulnerability and narcissism; sex and power. And, ultimately, it is Capote's self-destruction that will have you racing breathlessly towards the end

The Pool

The book is dripping with atmosphere and character and is such a pleasure to read.

And Then I Read A Book blog

A brilliant first novel

Rose Tremain, Daily Mail

Pure pleasure

Evening Standard Magazine

A stunning debut novel that seamlessly blends history, fact and fiction in this imaginative re-telling of the life of novelist Truman Capote

Woman's Weekly

A slick debut pulled off with brio, Swan Song is glamorous, vivid and sometimes even daring in its intelligence

Irish Times

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781786331069

    June 18, 2018

    Hutchinson

    480 pages

    RRP $32.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9781786331052

    June 15, 2018

    Hutchinson

    480 pages

    RRP $35.00

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Extract

1974

Theme

For the first time in his life, the words refuse to come.

He lies in bed, propped on a pile of chintz pillows, their suffocating tangle of tea roses faintly reminiscent of a Southern grande dame’s parlor.

We’ve each mused, at one time or another, that somewhere beneath his gnarled-gnome exterior lurks a genteel New Orleans matron, mortified by her host-form’s crassness.

He stares vacantly at the page before him, thoughts elsewhere. On delivery dates he hasn’t met, on advances already spent. On the Fabergé paperweight he’s just nabbed at auction, how it changes hue when the light shines through it just so, citrine tones conjuring Babe’s miniature vegetables, darling little carrots that only grow so big.

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