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clifhostetler

Clif's Book World

Adventures from reading books captured within short reviews.

In Cold Blood - Scott Brick, Truman Capote The Clutter house is in the news (See link).
"Fire Damages in Cold Bood Home"
I just finished the book last week and now it's in the news. I hope I'm not responsible for spreading bad luck.

The murder of the Clutter family, the focus of this book, occurred in rural Kansas in 1959 when I was 13 years old and living on a family farm in rural Kansas. Needless to say, I can remember when it happened and how it affected our family's life. That was about the time we decided to start locking the doors on our house. The description of the Clutter family life and the rural community of Holcomb, Kansas revived memories of my youth in a similar community. Consequently, this book grabbed my emotions from multiple directions. It was sort of like taking my most cherished memories, mixing them with my worst fears, and playing them out in excruciating detail.

The book is well written and easy to read. One of the first things I noticed about the book is how it read much like a novel. So I checked how it was cataloged by the library. It was filed under social studies/criminology. Later I learned that some people credit Capote with perfecting the "non-fiction novel." So I guess I wasn't the first person who noticed the novelistic characteristics. I think the abundance of narrative dialog within quotation marks gives the book that feel.

I imagine that most people who read this book are aware of what it's about and what's going to happen within the story. Nevertheless the parts of the story are arranged in such a way to build suspense. The story unfolds at a deliberate pace, and the description of the multiple homicides came quite late in the book. The story then describes the prison scene of that era and follows the convicts to their end.

The book ends with the description of a conversation that takes place in the cemetery where the Clutter family is buried. Oh, and did I mention that I had an emotional response to this book?