7/3/11: In the death series: stories of murder

Here’s a list of a few of many novels that deal with murder. We think we know what we think about murder, right? But do we? It takes courage to write about murder in serious literature, I think. These books are all first-rate literature in my opinion.

Blindness, Jose Saramago 

The doctor’s wife had no desire to kill, all she wanted was to get out as quickly as possible and, above all, not to leave a single blind woman behind. This one probably won’t survive, she thought as she dug the scissors into a man’s chest.

The Almost Moon, Alice Seabold

When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

At the time, not a soul sleeping in Holcomb heard them—four shotgun blasts that, all told, ended six human lives.

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

He described the entire plan of the murder, right down to the smallest minutia  …  narrated in detail how he had removed the keys from the dead woman’s person  …

One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest, Ken Kesey

 I watched and tried to figure out what he would have done. I was only sure of one thing: he wouldn’t have left something like that sit there in the day room with his name tacked on it for twenty or thirty years so the Big Nurse could use it as an example of what can happen if you buck the system. I was sure of that.

A Good Man is Hard to Find, Flannery O’Conner

“Yes, m”, the man said, smiling slightly as if he were pleased in spite of himself to be known, “but it would have been better for all of you, lady, if you hadn’t of reckernized me.”

 Lord of the Flies, William Golding

“Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!”

Native Son, Richard Wright

In all of his life, these two murders were the most meaningful things that had ever happened to him

Bel Canto, Ann Patchett

Whatever he meant to do, his mind was made up, and nothing she could say or sing would ever make a difference. Cesar jumped up from the piano bench where he had been sitting and before he got anywhere close to the door he was shot. He fell straight forward, not putting out his hands to save himself, not calling for anyone to help.  … General Hector started to put up his hands, but he was shot before they had passed his chest.

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4 Responses to 7/3/11: In the death series: stories of murder

  1. Chris Noonan says:


    Hadn’t heard of a few of these. I’m enjoying a few new books thanks to your recommendations. Have you heard of Reginald Hill? He’s a wonderful murder/mystery writer.

    “Jaysmith was a firm believer in the cerebral approach.
    He always shot at the head.”

    From ‘The Long Kill’

  2. Beloved, Toni Morrison

  3. Beloved, yes. Of course.

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