Monday, January 18, 2010

On "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote *****

What's there to say of a book that one first read nearly fifteen years ago and just completed a second pass through and found pretty much just as compelling? That I haven't seen any of the recent movies--though my interest in those is now at a fever point--was probably a help insofar as I'd forgotten many of the plot details. Still, the narrative itself is one so full of feeling that it gets beyond mere plot and becomes quite a sorrowful tale. Capote has the knack of making one feel for both the victims and the perpetrators (or at least one of the perpetrators), as well as for all the families connected with either one, so that in the end one is moved not so much to call for justice or to espouse righteous indignation against the evildoers but a rather a sadness for what bad doings like these do to all of the people involved on every side. A scene at the book's very end is particularly demonstrative of this point, where we meet up again with one of the victims' best friends visiting the grave of the family killed many years later. She recounts something she and her friend were planning to do after high school, and the recounting can't help but make one tear up.

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