There’s a movie out about Truman Capote, and I’m pretty excited.
Truman Capote, who died in 1984, is widely known as one of the country’s most original writers. He pioneered the “non-fiction novel,” a genre where real events can be written more like fiction – full of description and suspense. He took facts out of the hands of historians and threw them into the open arms of talented writers.
His crowning achievement is In Cold Blood — a novel that was thisclose to making my list of 26 books for 26 years, a fictional box set that I had created a few months ago. In Cold Blood is the recreation of the gruesome murder of a wealthy family in Kansas. He interviewed everyone who was involved and created a novel that broke all boundaries of non-fiction writing. He became attached to the killers themselves, but continued to tell the most truthful story he could.
The most interesting fact about Capote was his friendship with To Kill a Mockingbird’s Harper Lee, a friendship that led Lee to include a character based on Capote in Mockingbird: Dill. Lee writes:
Dill was a curiosity. He wore blue linen shorts that buttoned to his shirt, his hair was snow white and stuck to his head like duckfluff; he was a year my senior but I towered over him. As he told us the old tale his blue eyes would lighten and darken; his laugh was sudden and happy; he habitually pulled at a cowlick in the center of his forehead.
The book itself is one of the best I’ve read. It has a story in my own life as well: I bought it at the famous Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, France; I started reading it in Hyde Park in London, England; I finished it while lying on a bench in Heathrow Airport (I had to sleep in the airport in order to make my flight the next morning.) It’s historical to me in that it will always remind me of my “lazy day in London” – a day where I did nothing but relax and read.
As I said before, I’m pretty excited for this movie. Not only does it look very good, but it has one of my favorite under-appreciated actors in it: Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Go here to see the trailer: Capote.
“Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans – in fact, few Kansans – had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the shape of exceptional happenings, had never stopped there.” (from In Cold Blood)