Thursday, April 06, 2006

#25 - In Cold Blood

Truman Capote's masterpiece has most certainly held the test of time. In stark contrast to the solipsism of the film, where Capote's own obsession with the story of the Clutter murders in Kansas in the late 1950s almost drove him to utter madness (at least that was my impression), In Cold Blood remarkably and deftly tells the tale with an omniscient third person voice that remains almost authorless.

Of course, Capote's long-winded, aptly rich prose remains his own, but the idea of the "nonfiction novel" so cherished as a new format in the film, demands a point of view that approaches journalism, but it doesn't necessarily step into Good Night, Good Luck territory ("we report the news, we don't make the news").

That's the greatest achievement of the book I think, of how Capote manages to truly and precisely tell the story, make it his own, but be absolutely clear in his distanced point of view. The book would not have succeeded had Capote's own neurosis, his obsession with Perry Smith, or his quest for greatness been anywhere near the story. And I guess that's why the film marks such a diversion from the pure voice of the book.

I think that's what amazed me most of all on my second reading of the book, how different the film presents Capote vs. how in control of the narrative he remains all through the book. I loved it the first time I read it almost ten years ago; I loved it again now.

1 comment:

Beaches said...

I can't think of anything nearly that smart to say about it... but I loved the book too!

I have the film sitting at home, just waiting to be watched, so maybe I'll post on my thoughts after watching.

That is if I ever get around posting again. Have been feeling a little "off blogging" for a while. :)