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In Cold Blood Paperback – February 1, 1994
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"Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there." If all Truman Capote did was invent a new genre--journalism written with the language and structure of literature--this "nonfiction novel" about the brutal slaying of the Clutter family by two would-be robbers would be remembered as a trail-blazing experiment that has influenced countless writers. But Capote achieved more than that. He wrote a true masterpiece of creative nonfiction. The images of this tale continue to resonate in our minds: 16-year-old Nancy Clutter teaching a friend how to bake a cherry pie, Dick Hickock's black '49 Chevrolet sedan, Perry Smith's Gibson guitar and his dreams of gold in a tropical paradise--the blood on the walls and the final "thud-snap" of the rope-broken necks.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In the wake of the award-winning film Capote, interest in the author's 1965 true crime masterpiece has spiked. Capote's spellbinding narrative plumbs the psychological and emotional depths of a senseless quadruple murder in America's heartland. In the audio version, narrator Brick keeps up with the master storyteller every step of the way. In fact, Brick's surefooted performance is nothing short of stunning. He settles comfortably into every character on this huge stage—male and female, lawman and murderer, teen and spinster—and moves fluidly between them, generating the feel of a full-cast production. He assigns varying degrees of drawl to the citizens of Finney County, Kans., where the crimes take place, and supplements with an arsenal of tension-building cadences, hard and soft tones, regional and foreign accents, and subtle inflections, even embedding a quiver of grief in the voice of one character. This facile audio actor delivers an award-worthy performance, well-suited for a tale of such power that moves not only around the country but around the territory of the human psyche and heart. Available as a Vintage paperback. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book isn't broken down by chapters, but rather divided into four sections, roughly following the chronology of events they happened, but always with an eerie kind of foreknowledge that Mr. Capote shares with his readers. He gives everyone involved with the murder, including the victims and murderers, families, friend, acquaintances - even local characters in Holcomb, where the crimes occurred, and acquaintances the criminals met in prison, before and after they committed the crime, etc. And Mr. Capote does so in a way that makes you feel like you are present with him. The REALLY neat trick - slight of hand, good use of special effects - whatever, is that he structures this like you are reading fiction. This, make no mistake, is a novel. It starts slowly, but as you get past the first section the suspense builds. The sad thing is the intimacy in the first section. You get to know the victims. He doesn't just describe things. He talks to you as if he knew these people. All of them.
As chilling as this story is, it is one of the finest pieces of American Literature I have ever read. Highly recommend.
I found Capote's writing style to be sufficiently captivating, especially his descriptions of the little things, like the town of Holcomb and the townspeople. Though in my subsequent perusing I learned that some of the surviving family was not happy with the way Capote approached the novel. Maybe his depictions of the Clutter family weren't completely accurate, but as a reader I sure got a convincing feel for what was going on inside the killers' heads, all the way to the last second when they went to the gallows.
After reading the book I found the 1967 movie with Robert Blake to be equally disturbing, and equally well presented.