He really did it. Hired a junior chef from his favorite restaurant. Sent him to Central Park at night to grab one of these special birds, wring its neck, fry it, and then serve it seasoned with thyme and ginger. Truman Capote actually eats a swan that evening.

Anyone who knows a little about the life of the bon vivant, who finally became a superstar after the publication of the true crime novel “In Cold Blood” in 1966, knows the importance of the elegant animals for the US writer. After a childhood in rural Alabama, Capote quickly conquered New York. Friendship with a group of influential women, the It girls of her generation, was his ticket into the world of the desired and wealthy. He named them “The Swans”. Because they seemed to glide effortlessly over the surface of society, but underneath they had to paddle twice as hard as ordinary ducks because of the baggage of their beauty and claims to power.

For the ladies, Capote soon became a mixture of confessor, comforter and court jester. The circle let him in on affairs and other secrets; His talent for gossip and juicy anecdotes made him the center of attention at cocktail parties and weekend trips on private jets. A kind of gay best friend with a frog voice, where a woman never had to worry about him wanting to get into her lingerie.

Until Capote detonated a literary atomic bomb. The otherwise cultivated writer made probably the biggest mistake of his career, exploiting his insights into high society for a novel: “Answered Prayers.” A chapter about the goings-on around the restaurant “La Côte Basque” appeared as a preprint in a men’s magazine in 1975. A breach of trust with consequences: One of the women – Capote accused her of murdering her husband – then took her own life. Capote was declared an outcast almost overnight. Banished from a world in which it makes a difference whether Chablis or Sancerre are thrown in your face out of anger.

Capote then finally became addicted to drinking, was beaten until he was hospitalized and tried to poison himself with medication.

The series “Feud: Capote vs. The Swans” has now emerged from the existential feud. Behind the project is producer and writer Ryan Murphy, known as showrunner of series such as “Glee”, “American Horror Story” and creator of “Nip/Tuck – Beauty has a price”. Murphy is familiar with surfaces and their dark sides.

His story about the rise and fall of bohemianism is the second part of an anthology about famous rifts. The first part revolved around the rivalry between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford while filming the horror drama “What Really Happened to Baby Jane?” clashed

Capote would have clapped his hands in delight when it came to the cast of the new eight-parter: Naomi Watts, Diane Lane, Chloë Sevigny, Demi Moore and Calista Flockhart have slipped into the swans’ feathers. Tom Hollander (“Proud

The series often seems like it was dreamed up by Capote himself. Sharp dialogues meet biting humor, a sense of style meets a wealth that makes men apologize to their lovers for missteps with a painting: “You’ve always liked Gauguin. Or would you rather Monet?”

The leitmotif in this circus of greed and spite remains the question of how truthful art can be and how hurtful. Did Truman Capote immortalize swans through his prose? Or soiled yourself? “The only unpardonable sin is willful cruelty,” Capote said in a story.

Why did he even take the risk? “That’s what writers do,” he justifies himself in “Feud.” “Because it’s bloody, true and real.” And because it was how he was able to solve his writer’s block.

The background of the female characters is neglected. Barbara Paley, Lee Radziwill, C. Z. Guest and Slim Keith were fashion goddesses of their time, inspired artists like Warhol and Dalí, were close to Hemingway and the Kennedys and discovered Lauren Bacall for Hollywood. And they made homosexuality, which was still considered a criminal offense at the time, socially acceptable. Capote could only have liked that too.