- Series: Vintage International
- Paperback: 343 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (February 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679745580
- ISBN-13: 978-0679745587
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,724 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,195 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.
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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book covers the last day of the Clutter family, through the murder, the chase, and the execution of the killers: Richard Hickock "'a small-time chiseler who got out of his depth, empty and worthless.'"(p392) and Perry Smith who exuded "the aura of an exiled animal, a creature walking wounded" (p 393).
But most everyone knows that most basic outline of the story. Where Truman Capote shines is the description of people and events. He writes of the Clutters as clearly as if he they were characters in a novel. In the same way we clearly see Perry and Dick's lives from childhood through death.
Capote's brilliant writing shines throughout the book. When describing the trial he describes the defendant Perry Smith as the only person in court not dressed properly: "Only Perry Smith, who owned neither jacket nor tie, seemed sartorially misplaced. Wearing an necked shirt...and blue jeans rolled up at the cuffs, he looked as lonely and inappropriate as a seagull in a wheatfield." (p313)
I read this as a kid (maybe my parents' greatest gift was the free rein they gave my reading topics) probably drawn by the gruesomeness; but I found upon reading it 50 years later that it is a top notch chronicle of people, places, and events. This book is riveting; I read it in less than three days. Nothing could keep me from it except bleary eyes at midnight
But re-reading it, it WAS a new way to write non-fiction, that changed literature forever. It was also so frightening at the time, because things like that just didn't happen in the 1950's, but now it's the stuff of everyday news.
What Capote couldn't explore stands out, like an oozing sore, is the effects that child molestation and a severe head injury had on the killers. Very little was known about it then, and since that time, the research has increased exponentially, but is still largely ignored as warning signs for psychopathology and violent behavior. I've done most of my graduate work for an APRN and have worked with extremely disturbed and also TBI/ABI patients, the dissociative states that both killers describe are classic signs..
Often people think homosexuality is linked to predatory behavior--this is simply FALSE. Predatory behavior is a manifestation of anger and lack of impulse control on a big scale. Homosexuality is simply gender attraction--with no link to predatory behavior.
The book is as chilling and compelling as it first was, if not more so.