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Killings

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Killings.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Calvin Trillin(Author)

    Book details


True stories of sudden death in the classic collection by a master of American journalism

“Reporters love murders,” Calvin Trillin writes in the introduction to Killings. “In a pinch, what the lawyers call ‘wrongful death’ will do, particularly if it’s sudden.” Killings, first published in 1984 and expanded for this edition, shows Trillin to be such a reporter, drawn time after time to tales of sudden death. But Trillin is attracted less by violence or police procedure than by the way the fabric of people’s lives is suddenly exposed when someone comes to an untimely end.  As Trillin says, Killings is “more about how Americans live than about how some of them die.”

These stories, which originally appeared in The New Yorker between 1969 and 2010, are vivid portraits of lives cut short. An upstanding farmer in Iowa finds himself drastically changed by a woman he meets in a cocktail lounge. An eccentric old man in Eastern Kentucky is enraged by the presence of a documentary filmmaker. Two women move to a bucolic Virginia county to find peace, only to end up at war over a shared road. Mexican American families in California hand down a feud from generation to generation. A high-living criminal-defense lawyer in Miami acquires any number of enemies capable of killing him. 

Stark and compassionate, deeply observed and beautifully written, Killings is “that rarity, reportage as art” (William Geist, The New York Times Book Review).

Praise for Killings

“Riveting tales of murder and mayhem. . . . [Calvin] Trillin is a superb writer, with a magical ability to turn even the most mundane detail into spellbinding wonder. Armed with this wealth of material, he utterly shines. Every piece here is a gem.”The Seattle Times

“What Mr. Trillin does so well, what makes Killings literature, is the way he pictures the lives that were interrupted by the murders. Even the most ordinary life makes a terrible noise . . . when it’s broken off.”—Anatole Broyard, The New York Times

“Fascinating, troubling . . . In each of these stories is the basis of a Dostoevskian novel.”—Edward Abbey, Chicago Sun-Times

“The stories . . . are unforgettable. They leave us, finally, with the awareness of the unknowable opacity of the human heart.”—Bruce Colman, San Francisco Chronicle

“[Trillin] writes brilliantly. . . . These stories still hold up, as classics.”The Buffalo News

“In his artful ability to conjure up a whole life and a whole world, Trillin comes as close to achieving the power of a Chekhov short story as can anyone whose material is so implacably tied to fact.”—Frederick Iseman, Harper’s Bazaar

“I have a book for you true-crime addicts if you’re caught up on the podcast Serial, the cascade on TV of 48 Hours and Dateline NBC episodes. . . . It’s time to pick up Calvin Trillin’s Killings.”The New York Times Book Review

“Well-crafted and thoughtfully composed, lacking judgment and admonishment, these are a true piece of quality journalism, which clearly continues to captivate audiences.”Library Journal

“With telling detail and shrewd insights, [Calvin Trillin] masterfully evokes the places and personalities that hatched these grim episodes.”Publishers Weekly

“Riveting tales of murder and mayhem. . . . [Calvin] Trillin is a superb writer, with a magical ability to turn even the most mundane detail into spellbinding wonder. Armed with this wealth of material, he utterly shines. Every piece here is a gem.”—The Seattle Times“What Mr. Trillin does so well, what makes Killings literature, is the way he pictures the lives that were interrupted by the murders. Even the most ordinary life makes a terrible noise . . . when it’s broken off.”—Anatole Broyard, The New York Times “Fascinating, troubling . . . In each of these stories is the basis of a Dostoevskian novel.”—Edward Abbey, Chicago Sun-Times “The stories . . . are unforgettable. They leave us, finally, with the awareness of the unknowable opacity of the human heart.”—Bruce Colman, San Francisco Chronicle“[Trillin] writes brilliantly. . . . These stories still hold up, as classics.”—The Buffalo News “In his artful ability to conjure up a whole life and a whole world, Trillin comes as close to achieving the power of a Chekhov short story as can anyone whose material is so implacably tied to fact.”—Frederick Iseman, Harper’s Bazaar “I have a book for you true-crime addicts if you’re caught up on the podcast Serial, the cascade on TV of 48 Hours and Dateline NBC episodes, the hundreds of hours of Law and Order and its various offspring—oh, and the nearly eight-hour O.J.: Made in America and the ten or so hours of Making a Murderer. It’s time to pick up Calvin Trillin’s Killings.”—The New York Times Book Review“Trillin’s subjects are diverse and poignant. Each story captures not only a physical setting but also the tone of the era in which it occurred. Well-crafted and thoughtfully composed, lacking judgment and admonishment, these are a true piece of quality journalism, which clearly continues to captivate audiences.”—Library Journal“Violent deaths illuminate complex lives and desperate circumstances in this expanded reissue of the classic collection of the author’s true-crime reporting. . . . With telling detail and shrewd insights, [Calvin Trillin] masterfully evokes the places and personalities that hatched these grim episodes.”—Publishers Weekly Calvin Trillin has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1963. His nonfiction includes Jackson, 1964; About Alice; and Remembering Denny. His humor writing includes books of political verse, comic novels, books on eating, and, most recently, a children’s poetry collection illustrated by Roz Chast, No Fair! No Fair!

3.2 (12826)
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Book details

  • PDF | 320 pages
  • Calvin Trillin(Author)
  • Random House; Expanded edition (April 4, 2017)
  • English
  • 7
  • Biographies & Memoirs

Read online or download a free book: Killings

 

Review Text

  • By Deb on December 24, 2017

    It’s okay. The stories start to sound the same after a few chapters and I didn’t have the stamina to finish the book. Still, a decent read if you’re not looking for criminal procedure and only looking at death.

  • By scriqui on October 23, 2017

    Various crime stories from the New Yorker. So, of course well written and still relevantRecommended for all readers, especially of mystery and crime

  • By R. Martin on June 5, 2017

    Disregard the erroneous review because it doesn't apply to this book, but rather another one. I don't know how that happened.I am a fan of Trillin and give him four stars for Killings.Erroneous review text: "Beautiful writing but difficult to follow and understand - somewhat cryptic, like James Joyce. I started at the beginning four times and finally went online to read half a dozen reviews for explanations, context and ethnic history. After that I again started at the beginning and was able to enjoy her artistic talent. So, though I fully sympathize with the lower rating, I rate her higher for her talent."

  • By carilynp on May 20, 2017

    One of our greatest writers, Calvin Trillin, has compiled a group of his true crime essays dating back to 1969, originally written for The New Yorker, into the book KILLINGS. The essays are about victims of untimely deaths, and while each story is about murder, there is nothing scary about this book. It is a fascinating read. Each story packs a certain punch because he wrote them to capture the sense of place and not necessarily to solve the crime. They are insightful, eerie, and the people involved in the murders as well as the towns are what draw you in.Once you finish one story, you are transfixed and on to the next, but don’t feel like you are a ghoul, it’s Trillin’s investigative work that lures. That and his writing. Ok, and the fact that human beings can commit such heinous acts.There were some subjects, namely the criminals, that left me flabbergasted. People you would never suspect would take another person’s life. That is the beauty of how Trillin selects stories of people who have been going about their business for generations, who have not been exposed to gangs, drugs, extreme violence and such, sleepy rural towns where people keep to themselves, farmers whose daily lives have not been modernized other than going from working mules to heavy earth-moving equipment.One character in an essay really amused me, this was Edna Buchanan, a crime reporter for the Miami Herald. She was known for her classic ‘Edna’ to-the-point, hold nothing back leads. She had the police in Dade County a bit afraid. Often, she knew more about a case than they did. If Shonda Rhimes got a hold of Edna, surely a highly rated TV drama series would be developed around her life and the writers would never be short of story lines. The essay featuring Edna alone is worth the entire book. If you could forget for a minute the subject matter of the book, Trillin deserves his usual praise for well-honed study of his subjects as, rather than attacking their crimes, he fully grabs your attention with such detail, making KILLINGS as much of a treasure, in its own way, as some of his other gems.

  • By E. Abrams on October 9, 2005

    This book of essays is sad and beautiful. In general, I have always liked Trillin, but some of his humor pieces can be a little too cute. These essays, which originally appeared in the New Yorker, are very spare and moving. Each tells the story of a person killed--by accident, by murder, by abuse--and each essay is absorbing, melancholy and invested with meaning. The format makes the book an easy one to read and a good one for when you do not have a lot of time to read: each essay stands on its own. I have read this book at least twice in its entirety and some of the essays several times. The writing is skilled and precise. Trillin never lapses into sanctimony or sentimentality. I have recommended this book to many, and actually ended up loaning my copy to someone who liked it so much he wouldn't give it back! (I found a used copy on amazon for cheap and stopped bugging him to return it.) I love this book and wish it were more widely read.


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