If I were not perfectly sure of my power to write and of my marvelous ability to express ideas with the utmost grace and vividness…

This might be the first Classic (is it a classic, or is the author only considered a Classic-writer because of Lolita?) that really disappointed and angered me. I really hope there is a big difference between the main character and Vladimir Nabokov, because else I’m calling an author a super selfish airhead. No matter how much “satire” is involved.

The majority of the book is about Hermann Hermann and how incredibly smart, stealthy and smooth he is while everyone around him are paupers, silly and beneath him. He writes a story about how he discovers his almost perfect döppelganger, but writes more about his own life and how he thinks through every word and way of writing because he’s Intelligent.

Despair is sold as satire and darkly humorous, but is nothing more than a monologue about the amazing main character. Not even the “dark turn” can save it.

Despair, Vladimir Nabokov, Putnam 1965

In Cold Blood

The village of Holcomb stands on the high wheat plains of western Kansas, a lonesome area that other Kansans call ‘out there’.

For the category Classic with a capital C It took me a while to get into it, but I liked it tons better than my previous Classic, Despair.  I think the very densely printed lines were the biggest struggle to get used to.

As the complete title says, it’s an account of multiple murder. But calling it just a detective, a chronological story of murder and murderers caught, wouldn’t be sufficient, nor complimenting. This is every piece of the puzzle, from the life of the victims to the trails of the murderers, the homes of the police men and the setting of the court.

Truman Capote calmly sets out the pawns and the play-field, sketching a situation only overlay it with ink later. The account is the main character and it all fits needly together. It’s a slow burner that you will keep close after entering the field.

In Cold Blood: a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences, Truman Capote, Random House 1965