Everyone who really knows me-- which, in fact, is very few people-- is aware that I have been a die-hard Capote fan for decades. So much a fan, in fact, that I named one of my children for one of his most famous novels. I have always found his fiction to be fascinating, and his nonfiction to be even better. While In Cold Blood is nothing short of a literary masterpiece, it was Capote's fiction that I'd found first.
Much of Truman Capote's material came from his own experiences. Breakfast at Tiffany's seems to have been a rare exception. The first lines of this story drew me in: "I am always drawn back to places where I have lived..."* Past and present, I have always been able to relate to that line-- for whatever reason, good or bad or no reason at all, looking back with the need to return to familiarity.
I think everyone who has a favorite writer or favorite books has a reason for their choices. For me, it is usually a matter of being drawn to good writing or original writing styles. Capote has never disappointed when it came to good writing; and I don't think there are have been very many writers in recent generations who can measure up to his abilities. Some writers produced something excellent, but were unable to repeat that excellence a second time; others produce something great, and are never heard from again. Carson McCullers is an example of the former; Harper Lee is a good example of the latter. Capote is definitely an exception-- from collections of short stories to full-length novels, from magazine pieces to works of nonfiction, his unstoppable talent continued for nearly four decades. He was, without a doubt, the greatest writer of our era.