I wasn’t too excited about reading this book, partly because I’d never heard of it, but also because I’d never heard of the author.
I could not put it down, it was absolutely brilliant.
The story centres around the murders of the Clutter family in a little town called Holcomb, Kansas. The family are tied up and shot one by one in their house by two convicts who are in desperate need of money and want to escape parole and flee to Mexico. The narrative follows the family in the days leading up to their deaths, the lives of the killers but also how the police managed to capture and arrest the murderers. The novel feels very fictional, which is something I really liked about it, however it includes quotes from the actual people involved and also chunks of narrative that were said by the murderers in their interrogation by the police, which makes the novel like an extremely long newspaper article, following the murderers and their trial in court, before their arrest.
The novel is split into four parts; The Last to See them Alive, Person’s Unknown, The Answer, The Corner. These parts are very lengthy and there are no chapters in between, but Capote uses many breaks in the narrative and flits between the Clutters, the murderers and the police. The Clutter murder had garnered huge headlines and many readers would have known about the story before they read Capote’s book. While researching the case, he made over 8000 pages of research, something that demonstrates to us how well-researched the novel was. Capote is unbiased throughout and tells the story as the police would do; only commenting on ideas that are supported by evidence and does not put his own opinions into it. I couldn’t put this book down and it was so creatively different during its heydey. No wonder it has been described as a classic.
Overall rating: 5/5
Number of pages: 336