Truman Capote

After reading Mockingbird, I was compelled to learn more about the mysterious Truman Capote. To fulfill part of that goal, I added Capote (the movie, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman) to our Netflix queu. We watched it, and were distinctly surprised by how interesting a movie it was. The movie follows Capote's experiences while he was writing the book In Cold Blood. In 1963 a Kansas family of 4 by the name of Clutter was murdered in their beds. The book follows the fascinating story of how the murders came to pass, and gave background information on the murderers and their victims. I knew from reading Mockingbird that Harper Lee had been slighted by Capote, because she did most of the legwork and research for his wonderful book, and the only credit he gave her was a one line thanks on the dedication page, which she shared with another name. The movie justifies this by showing what an integral part Harper Lee played in the crafting of In Cold Blood. After watching the movie, I had so many unanswered questions about the Clutter murders that I had to get the book next.

The book and the movie corroborate on many of the major events, but contradict each other in several of the details. Capote showed that Truman connived and manipulated the justice system, the people of Holcome, Kansas, and the murderers themselves (Perry Smith and Dick Hickock) to get the goods that made up his book. He paints himself in a much more flattering light in his book, however. Yet another indication of the man's self-centered and inconsiderate nature. Having said that, In Cold Blood is one of the best works on non-fiction I have ever read. Somehow Capote took this horrible story and-using factual information- created a compelling story. I understand what a masterful writer the man was.