Reading Group Discussion Notes

The First Wed Reading Group had it’s monthly meeting. They discussed ‘In cold blood’ written by Truman Capote. It is the story of the 1959 murder of the four members of a Kansas farming family, the Clutters.

Capote left his jet-set friends and went to Kansas to delve into the small-town life and record the process by which they coped with this loss. During his stay, the two murderers were caught, and Capote began an involved interview with both. For six years, he became enmeshed in the lives of both the killers and the townspeople, taking thousands of pages of notes. Of In Cold Blood, Capote said, “This book was an important event for me. While writing it, I realized I just might have found a solution to what had always been my greatest creative quandary. I wanted to produce a journalistic novel, something on a large scale that would have the credibility of fact, the immediacy of film, the depth and freedom of prose, and the precision of poetry.” In Cold Blood sold out instantly, and became one of the most talked about books of its time.

The reading group thought the author respected facts and allowed different voices to speak without using journalistic style. While approching the family the author had knowing details. He was able to build suspense and even created sympathy for the murders. It raises questions of good and evil and crime and punishment.

Some members found the motive for killing wasn’t shown that much. But the crime was very detailed. They felt it was a good crime book – journalist crime fiction or not, but it provokes thoughts.