In Cold Blood is another one of those books that I pretended I had read when I was at cool social events in a circle with people talking about how much they loved it, but I actually had only watched the movie ('Capote', not even the real thing) in college completely misunderstanding why the movie was even made. But when my dear friend who has really similar and dark reading taste as me (mainly that she only reads the really dark stuff) told me I had to finally read it- I said okay. I got this beautiful edition of the book in Copenhagen and only when I went on a tour of a cathedral and when a tour guide saw that I was reading it and looked terrified- did I realize I was in for a treat.
This doesn't serve as a review as much as a personal journey through a true American classic that I was too naive to indulge in previously. If you are of the percentage that hasn't read this (and has lied about it at rooftop parties) it's the true story of a farming family from Holcomb, Kansas, who were brutally murdered in the 50's by two men. With the intent of writing an article about it, Truman Capote interviewed the killers, which expanded into a complex relationship with such detail and narrative, he wrote In Cold Blood instead. I grew up about 300 miles away from Holcomb, Kansas- and describing a town of 200 and the intricacies of community has always been lost on me- partly because I wasn't completely emerged it in, partly because its so unique- but the opening setting of In Cold Blood was spot on, making me HOOKED right away. I instantly understood how unique the telling of this crime was- Capote can articulate such a unique corner of the world AND a tragic murder in a way that seems so obvious and somehow beautiful.
“The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there.’ The land is flat, 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 traveler reaches them.” ― Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
My grandma passed away a few years back and there have been many times since then where I wish I could call her and ask her something specific, but after reading this book, I REALLY kicked myself for not reading it when she was still alive so I could quiz her on how people were reacting when this case was in real time- especially in Kansas. It's a haunting, factual, brilliant, and daunting story, one that I will reread every few decades to absorb something new. I was weary about it for so long, as I often am with classics- but it would be such a mistake to not read it- SERIOUSLY, do it.