- Series: Vintage International
- Paperback: 343 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (February 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780679745587
- ISBN-13: 978-0679745587
- ASIN: 0679745580
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,843 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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.
"A masterpiece . . . a spellbinding work." —Life
"A remarkable, tensely exciting, superbly written 'true account.' " —The New York Times
"The best documentary account of an American crime ever written. . . . The book chills the blood and exercises the intelligence . . . harrowing." —The New York Review of Books
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Note: Capote's research assistant out in rural Kansas was none other than (Nelle) Harper Lee, who wrote TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.
Capote shifts perspective from murderers to the murdered which allows him to convert this real life event to a story plotline. As the reader, we see the murder occur from both perspectives which almost allows us to be separate from the event since it leads to a weaker emotional connection to the story when reading. However, when the reader takes a moment to recall that this actually occurred, it opens a box of emotions. Capote wrote the plot so effectively, we automatically assume it is a work of fiction and forget the harsh realities.
Capote’s well researched insight on the story lends the perspectives of both the Clutter family members and the murders, Perry and Richard, to communicate a clear plotline. He does well to tie up loose ends that may have resulted from the limited availability of knowledge about the murders-which may be the reason why this story seems so fictional. Blurred omniscience lets Capote lead the reader through the rollercoaster of both emotions and action, each page becoming another layer to the overall suspense. The book does justice not only to the victims but the murders as well. Instead of painting Perry and Richard as complete antagonists, capable of only crime , Capote add layers to their personality by explaining the background of each man. The heart wrenching pasts of the duo humanized them, creating an additional element of tension during the brutal slaying of the Clutter family.
One really feels that every strange , even good, aspect of -not only the two main figures, but those around them- is relevant and explained, so that the whole acquires a coherence and completeness never found in a work of fiction.
I read mainly fiction but have now tried a new direction-non-fiction-and in my humble opinion its more interesting for being true.
Also as a picture of 1950's rural America the detail was as fine as that found in your ultra realistic painters' works, if a tad less uplifting!
I shall be back for more, once I have finished my current read. I hope -as a criminal lawyer for 30 odd years, that books like this not only show the danger from criminals who are so because of the damage they have sustained often at the hands of those who should love and care for them, but also how such behaviour MUST change as a result of such knowledge.
In England just now the sexual behaviour of many who were rich and famous is only many years later coming into the public domain. Hopefully such revelations will at least encourage more "whistleblowers".
Skeletons do not improve by being swept into cupboards! Sixty years have gone by since the vents described so graphically occurred bit the message underlying same is still true today. "Your bad actions may create a monster which the State may kill." Is this what you want for your child?