Everything you need to understand or teach The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin .
The Swans of Fifth Avenue is a fictional account of the lives and friendships of real-life author Truman Capote and his “Swans,” a group of Manhattan’s elite, wealthy, and famous socialites from the 1950s to the 1970s. Melanie Benjamin’s best-selling historical novel centers on the friendship between Capote and the moneyed, beautiful Babe Paley. Related from a third-person narrator, the story travels between the 1950s and 60s to October of 1975. Following his literary success with the novel In Cold Blood, Truman’s descent into alcohol and drug abuse led him to write a notorious article for Esquire magazine that revealed intimate details of his friends’ lives and culminated in the end of their friendship. The Swans of Fifth Avenue explores themes of betrayal, social status, beauty, and storytelling.