Truman Capote – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

28May10

“Charming” – That’s the first word that came to mind when I turned over the last page of this novella. I haven’t seen the Audrey Hepburn movie, so I didn’t really know much about the plot (maybe I really do live in my own little cocoon) prior to reading the classic.

There’s Holly Golightly, who gets the star billing, as the writer recounts memories of his glamourous neighbour many years later. Holly Golightly is a young woman, drifting through life in New York in the 1940s: the bars, the martinis, parties, the social scene. A complex character, who’s a wonderful combination of being naive and stubbornly independent, she keeps her friends close yet at a distance.

As her past tries to catch up with her, and she unknowingly gets entangled with the Mafia, she contemplates what she wants from life.

I don’t want to own anything until I know I’ve found the place where me and things belong together.  I’m not quite sure where that is just yet.  But I know what it’s like…. It’s like Tiffany’s…. Not that I give a hoot about jewelry.  Diamonds, yes.  But it’s tacky to wear diamonds before you’re forty…

This was my first foray into the world of Capote as well, and I was blown away by the rich lyrical writing, by the richness of Holly’s character, and by some of the cleverly crafted paragraphs. It was a delightful read, and I think the story is going to stay with me for a long time, as will Holly: a character that frustrated me to no end, but I still couldn’t help but like her.

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30 Responses to “Truman Capote – Breakfast At Tiffany’s”

  1. 1 Mish

    This has been on my reading list for several years and I really need to get to it. I also want to read Capote’s In Cold Blood. I’ve been watching Tiffany’s at least once a year since ’93. One wants to shake some sense into Holly, but at the same time, her naivete and seeing the world through rose coloured glasses are part of her charm. Glad you liked it.

    • Welcome back to the blogging world :)

      Want to read In Cold Blood as well, and I guess I should see the movie (Tiffany’s). I did like Holly’s character, and can easily imagine Hepburn playing her.

  2. I’m not sure charming appeals to me. I really want to read In Cold Blood – perhaps I’ll read this one afterwards?

    • Not read In Cold Blood, so can’t comment. Do want to read it though….

      It’s about hundred pages long, so predict you’ll finish this in one sitting, if you do end up reading it. However, I also think you’ll get thoroughly exasperated by Holly Golightly.

  3. I haven’t read Breakfast at Tiffany’s or seen the movie, either, but it’s now on my TBR list. Thanks for sharing!

  4. 7 Jo

    I think I may have the cocoon next door to yours as I’ve never seen the film either! I have both this and In Cold Blood in the TBR though, I’m sure I’ll get to them eventually. his one does sound good.

  5. 9 boardinginmyforties

    I’ve only read In Cold Blood by Capote which is quite a bit different from this one. I’ll have to check this one out and see if his writing style is similar in both even though the subject matter is quite different.

  6. I read this book last year and *loved* it, so much that I had to get my own copy of it after returning the library copy. The whole thing felt steeped in nostalgia. I had seen the movie a couple years earlier and thought it was okay, but it has a completely different feel than the book. The movie seemed much more light-hearted and flighty to me, not to mention that they turned it into a love story.

    • Yeah, that’s the problem with movies – they always introduce a *love story*. Always.

      Glad you loved this book as well, and you have your own copy to seek out whenever you feel like.

  7. I just saw Capote, the film starring P.S. Hoffman, and even though I wasn’t totally in love with the movie, I was certainly bitten by the Capote bug. I’m really curious about Breakfast and Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.

  8. I haven’t read the book, but the movie is one of my favorites.

  9. I really agree with Alita. I’d read the book first but knew all the ‘oh mys’ about the film and the two didn’t really marry. Then I saw the film and realised it was a sugar coated version. Do watch the film and share your thoughts.

  10. 19 Mae

    Lucky for me, I had never seen the film and all I knew before I read the book was the little black dress. I completely loved the story and found Holly quite endearing. I didn’t really like the narrator but found Holly eccentric. I think she knew that she was dealing with the mafia but chose to be blindsighted by that little fact. She was flippant but knowing and shrewd. That was what I ultimately loved about Capotes writing – fitting in such memorable characters in around 100 pages. Now that’s talent!

    • Ahh, the “little black dress”….

      I liked Holly. Didn’t think the narrator had much of a role. I’m not sure about her knowing about the mafia though. Or, I choose to believe that she didn’t have a clue.

      It’s absolutely incredible that so much was fit into so few pages. The mind boggles.

  11. 21 Sasha

    Like you, I’ve been living in my own cocoon–I know of Audrey Hepburn’s role in the movie, but not exactly what the movie was about. Much less the book. So. Reading your review, I’m definitely adding this to my “grocery” list–I’ve planned to let myself loose on a bookstore this week, and I’ll be buying this.

    Thank you for cultivating this TBR Sickness! ;p

    • Yay! I’ll look forward to your review of it, and hope you enjoy it. And, that “letting loose” in the bookstore was fun! Hope you took home a good haul!

  12. 23 Sarah

    ‘Holly Golightly’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ are such iconic ideas, and yet I know nothing about either film or novel besides those names. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. And the information that it is a novella is very encouraging!

    • I feel (almost) happy that I’m not the only one in the cocoon. :)

      It’s a short read – should take one sitting only. Also, my edition had three other short stories (each of them sub-fifteen pages) which were worth reading.

      • 25 Mish

        I guess whichever edition I end up reading will have to have the shorts. Thanks for the tip.

  13. 26 mee

    I thought I had left my comment here! I watched the movie soon after I read the book and fell absolutely in love with Audrey Hepburn. It’s one of those movies that might be better than the books. After Breakfast at Tiffany’s I’ve been wanting to read more Truman Capote and watch more Audrey Hepburn! More!

  14. 27 Elena

    What did you think of the other short stories at the end of Tiffany’s? I really loved House of Flowers. But they all sort of paled in comparison to the novella itself. Even Norman Mailer was impressed :P (I think he called Capote a ‘perfect writer’ or something like that)

  15. 28 Mish

    On a sorta side note…Capote and Harper Lee were the best of friends. He was jealous that To Kill A Mockingbird was better received than Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Adding insult to injury, Mockingbird‘s movie became a smash hit. Around that time, Lee accompanied Capote on his research trips for In Cold Blood.

  16. The only Capote novel I’ve read is In Cold Blood (loved it!), and I’m sad to say I’ve neither read the book, nor seen the film of, Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Your review is inspiring, though, to catch up on this lack of cultural literacy on my part. ;)

  17. I tried to read In Cold Blood by Capote and found it so intensly boring, but I still think that this one might be a good one. I haven’t seen the movie either, and its always good to read the book before you see the movie :-)


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