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Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood"

     In the movie "Infamous," there is a scene in which Harper Lee [a novelist] and Truman Capote are discussing the book he is writing about the Clutter murders, the brutal slaying of a Kansas family in 1959.

     When Capote refers to his book as a novel, Lee is perplexed, telling him a book is either fiction or non-fiction. Capote disagrees--he wants to reveal the intentions, emotions and thoughts of the real-life characters he portrays, giving it the depth of a novel.

     His book, In Cold Blood, was subsequently recognized as an exemplar of a new genre--creative non-fiction. [While universally known as a true crime classic, because of created characters, scenes and dialogue, In Cold Blood is more of a novel than nonfiction.]

Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn, August 17, 2017


  1. Not to be too cantankerous of an old xanthippe, but I still say that a novel is FICTION. A true story is NON-FICTION. Mr. Capote only succeeded in muddying waters that should have remained clear.

  2. You make a good point. In my view, having some knowledge of the Clutter murder and its investigation, "In Cold Blood" should be classified as a novel rather than true crime.

    1. Perhaps we need another term or title for a work that is basically true only the writer stuck not only their nose but both feet too far into the story for it to be considered really, really, like totally true, y'know...? [Sorry]

  3. It was an interesting book. When I was reading it I knew that Capote "made up" some of it but the basic story was interesting and that's why I read books.