In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (Penguin Modern Classics) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2000/2/3
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The chilling true crime 'non-fiction novel' that made Truman Capote's name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics.
Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their 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 Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human.
Truman Capote (1924-84) was born in New Orleans. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for The New Yorker, which provided his first - and last - regular job. He wrote both fiction and non-fiction - short stories, novels and novellas, travel writing, profiles, reportage, memoirs, plays and films; his other works include In Cold Blood (1965), Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published in Penguin Modern Classics.
If you enjoyed In Cold Blood, you might like Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs' And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'It is the American dream turning into the American nightmare ... By juxtaposing and dovetailing the lives and values of the Clutters and those of the killers, Capote produces a stark image of the deep doubleness of American life ... a remarkable book'
Truman Capote was born in New Orleans in 1925 and was raised in various parts of the south, his family spending winters in New Orleans and summers in Alabama and New Georgia. By the age of fourteen he had already started writing short stories, some of which were published. He left school when he was fifteen and subsequently worked for the New Yorker which provided his first - and last - regular job. Following his spell with the New Yorker, Capote spent two years on a Louisiana farm where he wrote Other Voices, Other Rooms (1948). He lived, at one time or another, in Greece, Italy, Africa and the West Indies, and travelled in Russia and the Orient. He is the author of many highly praised books, including A Tree of Night and Other Stories (1949), The Grass Harp (1951), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958), In Cold Blood (1965), which immediately became the centre of a storm of controversy on its publication, Music for Chameleons (1980) and Answered Prayers (1986), all of which are published by Penguin. Truman Capote died in August 1984.
It is quite natural for the reader to feel pity for the innocent four victims cruelly and senselessly murdered, but the strangest part of this book is that the reader is made to feel pity for the criminals.
Especially what's so disturbing about the book is the sympathy the reader can't help but feel for Perry Smith, who actually fired the shots that killed all four Clutters.
Perry never truly had a happy childhood but a rather misfortunate one. Every single one of his siblings ended up committing suicide except for his sister, Barbara Johnson-- she actually leads a pretty good life. He was often mistreated as a child ever since his mother and father became estranged. One of the worst things that I have read about Perry Smith's childhood was when he was beaten up by nuns in an orphanage.
I think Truman Capote exceptionally well succeeds in conveying to his reader how pitiful Perry was. All Perry ever wanted in life was to be happy and search for 'lost treasure' but apparently, that won't likely ever happen.
To make matters worse, he ended up in an accident that scarred both his legs and even his soul forever. He is essentially a murderer who brutally murdered a family of four. But as a reader, I could not help feeling how different a life he would have lived, if he had been treated well and nicely in his childhood.
“But for the grace of God there goes John Bradford."(十六世紀のイギリスの牧師、ジョン・ブラッドフォードは、悪を行なった人々が処刑場に連れて行かれるところを見かけると、いつもこのような言葉を口にしたという。）
同じように恵まれない家庭で育ったカポーティとペリー。カポーティは、後にこの事件に関して「同じ家で生まれた。一方は裏口から、もう一方は表玄関から出た。」と語っている。ペリーに同情しながらも、作品を仕上げるために死刑執行を望んだ作者の心情を考えると、「In Cold Blood」というタイトルが非常に重く感じられた。