“The Nonfiction Novel”

FINALLY, I finished In Cold Blood. I write “finally” because I realized my reading pace changed dramatically after the second half. By the last quarter, I found myself moving through very slowly — but in the way one might when visiting some location for the first time and you want it all to imprint. I was struck by how much information, facts, figures etc — the layers of it — Truman Capote wove with great precision into this specimen: something he called nonfiction novel: the judicial system, psychological screenings, geography, sociology. It’s now humming inside. The voices, the wheat bending in the wind. Always, as I step off into a big writing project, I crave one fine, sturdy example of a writer tackling something that seems impossible and watch them lay it down with (seeming) ease and elegance.

I ran across the trailer for the film on YouTube and thought it was an interesting approach at teasing the story — that instead of an overview that solely plucks dramatic scenes from the film to preview the feature, this is more the meta-story about what it was like to land in Kansas and make a film about the Clutter family murder and the legal proceedings that followed, it’s showcasing the verisimilitude.

And because it’s really worth watching, I’m posting this link again to Truman Capote talking about how he got the idea for the nonfiction novel.
photo of Truman Capote by Irving Penn

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