Ralph F. Voss examines Capote and In Cold Blood from many perspectives, not only as the crowning achievement of Capote's career, but also as a story in itself, focusing on Capote's artfully composed text, his extravagant claims for it as reportage, and its larger status in American popular culture.
Voss argues that Capote's publication of In Cold Blood in 1966 forever transcended his reputation as a first-rate stylist but second-rate writer of "Southern gothic" fiction; that In Cold Blood actually is a gothic novel, a sophisticated culmination of Capote's artistic development and interest in lurid regionalism, but one that nonetheless eclipsed him both personally and artistically. He also explores Capote's famous claim that he created a genre called the "nonfiction novel", and its status as a foundational work of "true crime" writing as practiced by authors ranging from Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer to James Ellroy, Joe McGinniss, and John Berendt.
"The most useful volume yet written on this remarkable cultural intersection of American literary genius and real-life prairie horror. Truman Capote and the Legacy of 'In Cold Blood' is the best companion volume imaginable for Capote's astonishing book." (Kansas History)
"A riveting, finely written psychological/literary analysis, combined with meticulous historical research." (Claudia Durst Johnson, author Understanding To Kill A Mockingbird)
"The book is especially well written... an entertaining view of the subject and a thorough review of the materials." (Norman Sims, author of True Stories: A Century of Literary Journalism and Literary Journalism in the Twentieth Century)
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- Sally L. Chambers