Monday, September 10, 2012

Top 10 genre-defying novels

Kit Whitfield grew up in London. In her time, she has trained as a chef and a masseur, as well as working as a website editor, quote hunter, toy shop assistant and publisher. Her novels include In Great Waters and Benighted.

In 2006 she named her top ten genre-defying novels for the Guardian. One title on the list:
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Technically a factual book but, knowing what we do about Capote, reading it with a questioning eye, can we trust him when he says there's no fiction involved? Can we believe his claim of perfect recall of conversations where he took no notes? Can we trust his honesty in his portraits of the two killers, his willingness or otherwise to do justice to both of them, his evasiveness about the effect of his own relationship with them? And yet, for all the questions raised about his ethics in writing it, in itself it's a strongly moral book, a passionate and persuasive cry against the death penalty, filled with a yearning for common humanity. Paradoxically, a work of true crime that works best if read as a work of fiction, an endless moral conundrum.
Read about the other entries on the list.

In Cold Blood also appears on Sarah Weinman's list of best true crime books, Catherine Crier's five top crime books list, Ann Rule's five best list of true-crime books, and Bryan Burrough's six best books list. Kansas' first poet laureate Jonathan Holden's chose In Cold Blood for The Great Kansas novel.

--Marshal Zeringue