Penguin, trade pb, 146 p.
It’s New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany’s. And nice girls don’t, except, of course, Holly Golighty. Pursued by Mafia gangsters and playboy millionaires, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly ‘top banana in the shock department’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.I’d read two other books by Capote before this one. In Cold Blood, which I thought was ok, but looking at it through modern eyes, just didn’t seem terribly shocking. Then last year I read Other Voices, Other Rooms, which I really didn’t care for. It started out well but completely lost me by the end. After Other Voices, Other Rooms I wondered if Capote just wasn’t for me. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List though so I thought I’d give it a try and ended up thoroughly enjoying it. What a great character Holly is, flirtatious, flighty, charming, vulnerable, capricious Holly! I haven’t seen the film yet, but Audrey Hepburn certainly helped turn her into a lasting, iconic character, and I’m glad to have finally ‘met’ her through the pages of the book. All in all it was a very fun read and proof that sometimes it’s worth trying an author again.
This edition also contains three stories: ‘House of Flowers’, ‘A Diamond Guitar’ and ‘A Christmas Memory’.
I knew damn well I’d never be a movie star. It’s too hard; and if you’re intelligent, it’s too embarrassing. My complexes aren’t inferior enough: being a movie star and having a big fat ego are supposed to go hand-in-hand; actually, it’s essential not to have any ego at all. I don’t mean I’d mind being rich and famous. That’s very much on my schedule, and some day I’ll try to get around to it; but if it happens, I’d like to have my ego tagging along. I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany’s.Along with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, this edition also contained three short stories, which I fully enjoyed as well. They were each quite different but I found each of them to be engaging glimpses into human nature. So it seems that Capote has finally won me over and I’ll be less hesitant to read something else by him in the future.
Read more about Capote at CapoteBio.
If you don't want to read the full novella, you can always read the Digested Classic version of Breakfast at Tiffany's in The Guardian.
First sentence: I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighbourhoods.
My Rating: 4/5
(#7 for 2009, 1% Well-Read Challenge)
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