mandag den 27. februar 2017

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote





Jeg har en lidt bizar fascination af seriemordere og sande forbrydelser. Der er noget ved disse mennesker, og det de gør, som pirrer et behov for at forstå, hvordan det er muligt at nå så langt ud. Det er skæbner og mennesker, fuldstændig ligesom en selv, men på et eller andet tidspunkt, er der sket noget i dem, som gør dem i stand til at slå ihjel og at nyde at slå ihjel. Jeg forstår det ikke. Overhovedet. Og derfor fascinerer det mig. 

Hvis man, ligesom jeg, fascineres af denne slags fortællinger, så er det "true crime", man skal søge efter. Og hvor er der altså meget at komme efter. Især i øjeblikket med serier som Making a Murderer og The Jinx. Jeg er dog også dykket ned i true crime litteraturen, og selvom true crime i virkeligheden har eksisteret meget længere, end man skulle tro (et eksempel er de såkaldte penny dreadfuls i England og de tilsvarende skillingsviser i Danmark, som netop formidlede sande forbrydelser), er det oftest Truman Capotes roman In Cold Blood som regnes som den første. 

Capote brugte seks år på at undersøge det blodige drab på fire medlemmer af familien Clutter i 1959. I hele perioden havde  han adgang til beviser, involverede, pårørende og endda tilsidst også morderne, og romanen, som udkom i 1966, er et resultat af dette. 

I romanen skifter perspektivet ofte, og vi får ikke kun et indblik i sagen fra efterforskernes perspektiv, men også fra mordernes. Det har den effekt, at man som læser næsten fatter sympati for dem, hvilket er en ret stærk oplevelse. 

Der har været en del kritik af romanen efter dens udgivelse. Og med rette. At kalde den en "non-fiktion-roman" er hvertfald lidt misvisende. Capote nøjes ikke kun med at anvende virkemidler, vi kender fra fiktionen, han opdigter også selv samtaler og scener. Han genfortæller detaljeret samtaler mellem de to mordere, som han på ingen måde har haft mulighed for at kende til, og en del af de pårørende, som Capote interviewede, har efter romanens udgivelse, udtalt sig om Capotes fejlciteringer og opdigtede scener. 
Nu er det jo ikke nødvendigvis det, som skal afgøre, om romanen er god eller ej, men jeg synes alligevel, det er værd at overveje afstanden mellem det virkelige og det fiktive, når man læser den. Fiktionsspørgsmålet gør hvertfald romanen mere tvetydig.


In Cold Blood er en interessant roman. Jeg føler ikke, jeg er tættere på en forklaring eller forståelse for, hvordan de to mordere var i stand til at slå ihjel, men det er heller ikke sikkert, man nogensinde kommer til at kunne forstå det? En del af mig håber da, det forbliver tåget. 
Romanen formåede aldrig helt at fange mig, måske netop fordi, jeg stadig står uforstående tilbage med en tom følelse af afmagt og håbløshed. Det er frustrerende, men sådan er virkeligheden jo ofte, og det er lige netop der, genren generelt bliver så sindssyg interessant - man er underlagt en virkelighed, som man ikke kan styre, og derfor er værkerne i genren altid på sin vis ufuldendte og frustrerende.







ENGLISH BELOW
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I have an odd fascination for everything related to real life stories and murder. There is something about these people, who are able to kill, that fascinates me. In a way, they are just like you and me, but somehow they're also different. I don't understand it. At all. And that's why they interest me.

If you, like me, are fascinated with these true tales of murderers, you'll have to look for the true crime genre. And if you haven't already, I'm sure you'll be amazed at how much there is available. Especially these days with series such as Making a Murderer and The Jinx. I've also looked into the true crime literature, and usually you'll find that Truman Capote's In Cold Blood is the first official true crime novel. This might be true in some degree, but true crime goes back a lot further. The popular penny dreadfuls in England are just one example of true crime, and similarly in Denmark we had the so-called "skillingsviser". 

Anyway, Capote spent six years researching the bloody murder of four family members in 1959. During this time he had access to evidence, people involved in the case and even - later on - the murderers. This gives him an interesting insight to the story.

The perspective in the novel changes constantly. We're not only introduced to the investigator's point of view, but also the murderers. This causes an eery effect of sympathy for the two killers.

There was a lot of critique of the book after it was published due to the fact that Capote called it a "non-fiction book". It is about a true event, but Capote not only uses strategies we know from fiction, but he also makes up conversations and scenes, which obviously fit into the story that he wants to tell and which has nothing to do with reality.
When this is said, the question of it being true is not necessarily what determines whether the book is good or not. But the slurred lines does make the book seem ambiguous. 

In Cold Blood is an interesting novel. I don't feel as if I've gotten any closer to understanding the murderers, but maybe I'll never understand? In some way I hope that's the case.
The book left me with an empty feeling of hopelessness. And frustration. It's frustrating, but... life is frustrating. And I think what makes this genre unique and fascinating is that it's bound so closely to reality - the events and story line is bound to a reality and when reality sucks, the story sucks, when you never find the murderer in real life, you never find the murderer in the story.

1 kommentar:

  1. Hi Ida,
    I read your post with great interest, that means I was more and more sucked in. One cannot expect this field to attract young people nowadays because it deals with the dark sides of our societies. I read your text at several times due to finding out why are you drawn and what do I think about this eery topic. Yes, I also read some books corresponding with such issues. At first, I can state, we are reading different American authors dealing with that matter. I don't know much about Truman Capote, and I feel I should change that. I read two novels about Lee Harvey Oswald, Norman Mailer's "Oswald's Tale" and Don de Lillo's "Libra". Both books show inner life of Oswald. But I think, I wasn't so attracted to learn something about the murderer, but rather my focus was on the way great secret services work. Norman Mailer even studied the files of Oswald's case in the KGB office in Russia. At the end of their books, the authors draw quite contradictory conclusions who is behind of Kennedy's assassination. That is really amazing. "Oswald's Tale" can be read online at archive.org and there is also a declassified FBI file of Norman Mailer itself available. Mailer was not the only supervised author. In 1988 the book "Dangerous Dossiers" by Herbert Mitgang was published from Donald Fine, New York. The book reveals a long list of Dossiers of American and foreign authors, among such writers as Sinclair Lewis, Truman Capote, Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, Tennessee Williams, Elmer Rice and so forth. That book should read every student of American literature. The today's world is running into a new cold war, and I think, the secret services act in the same way as before. By the way, Mailer's the novel " The Executioner's Song" about a real murderer Gary Gilmore should be not forgotten. Reading the mentioned books, I couldn't feel any sympathy for the criminals. Unfortunately, our irrational western societies care less about victims than about offenders.
    A word to the TV-series to fictional or true crimes. Germany is flooded with such series, every day, seven days a week. It seems to be an intention behind it. The actors have to recite ideological statements from time to time. It is unbelievable...that is no serious art. In Pynchon's novel "Inherent Vice" a similar opinion can be found: "...but nowadays it's all you see anymore is cops, the tube is saturated with fuckin cop shows, just being regular guys, only tryin to do their job, folks, no more threat to nobody's freedom than some dad in a sitcom. Right. Get the viewer population so cop-happy they're beggin to be run in." That seems to be the idea behind all these series. But this only my point of view or I should better say my "Weltanschauung". You wrote an excellent, impressive and important post and I'll look after a copy of "In Cold Blood" in my Library next week. I'm sure, they have more than only one as in the case of Sylvia Plath.
    Best regards
    Wolfgang

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