"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Monday, September 29, 2014

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's
(also includes House of Flowers, Diamond Guitar, A Christmas Memory)
Author:  Truman Capote
Published: 1958 (original publication date) 
Original Publisher:  Random House, Inc.
Publication this edition:  July 2012
Publisher:  Vintage (a division of Random House)
Format:  Trade paperback
Edition:  50th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 148
Source:  borrowed

In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany's; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.

This volume also includes three of Capote's best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.” It is a tale of two innocents—a small boy and the old woman who is his best friend—whose sweetness contains a hard, sharp kernel of truth.  (from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Truman Capote's Holly Golightly is as confusing as she is confused, or at least she ought to be the way she lives but you cannot help but enjoy reading about this vivacious young woman who hides from her past, loves Tiffany's and fashion, constantly locks herself out and whom all the men love.  She's a bit of an enigma, witty, charming and beautiful and involved with the wrong men.  She's a bit of a wild thing that cannot be captured.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is a rich character study of a narrator, who is in love with a wild and unobtainable Holly Golightly, and especially of this young woman who is naive, beautiful and desired by men who uses all of the aforementioned to her financial advantage.  Her complexity of character makes her an interesting personality to get to know through the creative imaginings of a gifted writer.  Nothing in literature at the time this was written is remotely similar, though The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald has been compared to this novelette.

The movie adaptation of the novel Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Audrey Hepburn is an incredible likeness of the book and once you've seen Hepburn as Holly, you won't be able to imagine her otherwise.  Hepburn is phenomenal in the role.

My favourite among the short stories included in this volume following Breakfast at Tiffany's is A Christmas Memory which is a story of a young child growing up in a poverty-stricken household and the simple joys that can be gathered by the work of one's own hand.

Capote's writing is eloquent while being creative and even lyrical.  I'm not sure which I enjoyed more, reading the stories or reading the writing.  

About Truman Capote:
photo on book cover
Truman Capote was a native of New Orleans, where he was born on September 30, 1924.  His first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms, was an international literary success when first published in 1948, and accorded the author a prominent place among the writers of America's post-war generation.  He sustained this position subsequently with short-story collections (A Tree of Night, among others), novels and novellas (The Grass Harp and Breakfast at Tiffany's), some of the best travel writing of our time (Local Color), profiles and reportage that appeared originally in The New Yorker (The Duke in His Domain and The Muses Are Heard), a true crime masterpiece (In Cold Blood), several short memoirs about his childhood in the South (A Christmas Memory, The Thanksgiving Visitor, and One Christmas), two plays (The Grass Harp and House of Flowers) and two films (Beat the Devil and The Innocents).

Mr. Capote twice won the O. Henry Memorial Short Story Prize and was a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters.  He died in August 1984, shortly before his sixtieth birthday.  (biography as portrayed in this copy of Breakfast at Tiffany's)

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