LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A newly discovered work by American author Truman Capote detailing a Mediterranean cruise with the rich and famous is set to be published in Vanity Fair, the magazine said on Monday.
The vignette "Yachts and Things," which will appear in the December issue available across the United States on Tuesday, is described by experts as one of the missing chapters in Capote's unfinished autobiographical novel "Answered Prayers."
The novel, which has only a few surviving chapters, scandalized many of Capote's high-society friends as he put their often-tumultuous and embarrassing private lives on public display.
The manuscript, which appears to be an early draft, was discovered by Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner while doing research on "Answered Prayers" in Capote's papers held by the New York Public Library. "Answered Prayers" was published posthumously in the United States in 1987.
The six-page story tells of a three-week Mediterranean cruise aboard a friend's chartered yacht.
The host, thought to be the late Gianni Agnelli, longtime head of Italy's Fiat SpA, is unable to join the narrator and "Mrs. Williams" - most likely the late Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham - after a family death.
"It's vintage Truman," Capote biographer Gerald Clarke told the magazine.
"The title, ‘Yachts and Things', is indeed the title of one of the chapters he planned for ‘Answered Prayers'," Clarke said. "But that chapter would have been much longer than six pages ... I don't know why this one was not published. My guess is that he thought it fell short in some way."
Capote shot to fame in 1948 with his first novel, "Other Voices, Other Rooms," and its suggestive photo of the then-23-year-old author.
He built upon his celebrity by moving easily in New York's socialite circles and with the works "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and the self-styled nonfiction novel "In Cold Blood" that told the story behind the murder of a rural Kansas family.
Capote died of liver cancer in 1984 at the Los Angeles home of Joanne Carson, the ex-wife of late-night television host Johnny Carson.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Jill Serjeant and Matthew Lewis)