IN COLD BLOOD BY TRUMAN CAPOTE
PENGUIN BOOKS (PAPERBACK), 1966
This book is part of my Popsugar Reading Challenge 2015 (http://www.popsugar.com/love/Reading-Challenge-2015-36071458). The category for this book is ‘a book that made you cry’.
I was going to read this for the ‘a book that became a movie category’ and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossein was going to be in the crying category. However, since In Cold Blood did have me in tears and The Kite Runner has been adapted for the screen I decided to switch them around. What if The Kite Runner didn’t make me cry?
In Cold Blood is considered to be the first full-length published non-fiction. The books could have fit other categories including ‘a book based on a true story’ and a non-fiction book.
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and children. Truman Capote’s comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, who, vividly drawn by Capote are shown to be representable yet entirely and frighteningly human.
The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kanasans call ‘out there’. Some seventy miles east of the Colorado border, the countryside, with its hard blue skies and desert-clear air, has an atmosphere that is rather more Far West than Middle West. The local accent is barbed with a prairie twang, a ranch-hand nasalness, and the men, many of them, wear narrow frontier trousers, Stetsons, and high-heeled boots with pointed toes. The land is flat, and the views are awesomely extensive; horses, herds of cattle, a white cluster of grain elevators, rising as gracefully as Greek temples are visible long before a traveller reaches them.
This was my first time reading Capote.
I really enjoyed In Cold Blood. Capote actually travelled to Holcomb with Harper Lee (To Kill A Mockingbird) and spoke to the locals and the team investigating the crimes. This comes through in the way the book is written. You can tell Capote has actually seen the town and the people and the killers arrested and later executed for the murders. In Cold Blood made me cry several times mainly because Capote writes in such a bleak, matter-of-fact way almost devoid of emotion. There’s an unexpected coldness to In Cold Blood that should be detrimental to the enjoyment of reading it but someone made me like it even more. Capote has no time for emotions and just states the facts throughout this short novel, as bleak and tragic as they are. Capote likes description and he goes into minute detail throughout In Cold Blood describing the town and the people vividly. Capote gives us the whole life story of many characters. The style he uses for In Cold Blood wouldn’t work in a novel but seems to create the perfect tone for a work of non-fiction sub-titled a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences.