August 7th, 2006

breaking bad

Good to be back

I had a good holiday in Brittany. We stayed in an area south of Quimper, right by the beach (two places, Kerity and Mousterlin). Wendy Mews, a writer based in Brittany, has descriptions and photos of Brittany in her blog which is worth a visit.

For the last two weeks I walked everywhere I wanted to go - mostly up the beach - didn't hardly get in the car for two weeks. In fact I am growing to detest driving.

In the mean time my niece Brigit had an operation for her hole in the heart and survived. She isn't thriving yet, but we have hopes. My friend Sarah celebrated her civil partnership with her long-term girlfriend. Also my nan went into hospital, at 98 it is to be expected but she is doing OK. I was frustrated at all these things happening while I was too far away to help/join in/support.

I return to a major reorganisation at work. My job is unlikely to be at risk, but on the other hand there might be opportunities for a more self-determining role? I hope so.

I think there is no way that I'll read back over what happened on livejournal, so apologies if I have missed major events.
breaking bad

What else I read on my holidays

I knew I would forget one. I also read 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote. Subtitle 'A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences '. I would unhesitatingly recommend this book to just about anyone as the writing is first rate, and the story is fascinating. Capote has traced the aftermath of a real life murder from three perspectives: the small Kansas town in which it took place, the police operation to track down the killers, and most interestingly of all, the two culprits on the run and after their capture. There is no attempt to glamorise or excuse them, but their personalities are vividly drawn.

For me the most interesting sequence in the book is a set of two letters: one to Perry Smith (one of the killers, a schizophrenic) from his only surviving sister (his other siblings all killed themselves) while he was in prison on a previous charge, and an 'analysis' of the letter by an older prisoner who befriended him and might have been a settling influence. The first is illiterate, ignorant, small minded, innocent, and acute. The second is not quite as clever as it thinks it is, and yet wise. The interplay of the two documents, presented almost without comment, is fascinating.

The 'true crime' genre is pretty debased these days, but this book is not trashy or exploitative. The actual killing is treated with some restraint. Capote's two strengths seem to have been the ability to elicit confidences from a wide range of people, and then to render them in first rate vivid prose.