“He disappeared!” says Evie Chanler. “He didn’t want us to know where he was.”
“He was obviously looking for something that he hadn’t found,” says her husband. “Then he finally ended up in Naples! Naples was always considered a rather louche city—he may have been somewhat drawn to that side of it, I’m sure I don’t know. I mean, we all knew that when Shawn left The New Yorker he kind of collapsed. Poor George.”
Brackman talked to him occasionally during his last months in Naples. “The last conversation I had with George, he said things like, ‘Right at this moment my cock is in the mouth of a beautiful boat boy,’” says Brackman. “It’s the sort of thing he never in a zillion years would have said ten years earlier. It was part of his madness, his mania.”
According to the American Embassy in Naples, on Trow’s death certificate the cause of death is “acute vascular episode.” All other information about the case is being kept confidential at the request of Trow’s next of kin, his 88-year-old mother, Anne, who still lives in Connecticut.
“You know, I was a small writer in a short way myself before I was married and had a son named George William Swift Trow,” she says. “I remember going out and interviewing Lillian Hellman; she had a very husky voice, and I went to the door at Hardscrabble farm and she said, ‘You know, I’m very hard to interview.’ I’ve always been proud of George. I’m just getting over the shock. I walk from room to room and he’s with me every minute. I had a little girl, and she died too, you know. For every victory there is a downside.”