What I found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany’s. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there.” Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
Initial Thoughts: I had just watched the film version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s a few months ago for the first time. Audrey Hepburn has a magnetic energy that draws viewers into her strange world. A few days later, I found myself picking up Capote’s novella on which the movie is based.
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.” – Goodreads
Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s holds all the promise of a quirky subject with an erratic disposition. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is just one of those books with a catchy title, like Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights. Even though you may not have a sweet clue what it is about, the name just rolls off the tongue. I had decided to watch the movie first as I had no idea that it was based on a novella. The only reason why I decided to watch the movie in the first place is because of an Audrey Hepburn makeup tutorial I had seen. I remain ever envious that I cannot recreate Audrey Hepburn’s iconic eyebrows.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a unique portrait of a mysterious socialite, Holly Golightly who meets a burgeoning writer whom she nicknames Fred after her brother. The story is told through “Fred’s” point of view as he tries to unravel the truth around Holly’s past. As “Fred” gets closer to Holly, he begins to see the truth behind Holly’s erratic behaviour. For the most part, the novella is rather short and sweet, and doesn’t have a lot of action. Instead of being a story focused on embezzlement, it is a character study of a woman who tries to survive independently in a world dominated by men.
Holly’s story is told from a unique perspective, from a man who loves her, but is not in love with her in a romantic way. Capote, approaches a seemingly familiar genre of examining life of glamourous and desired woman without objectifying Holly in the process. As most of the novels that I read tend to be romance novels (if told through a masculine perspective) the woman will be highly objectified. Instead of having an interesting personality – or God forbid, character flaws –she is transformed into a perfect doll with little faults. The physique of the woman, such as the colour of her eyes and hair, will have precedence over her backstory. And of course, in the end she is saved by a man who completes her and knows how to put her to good use. The film version, I find, mostly strays away from this cliché before diving in headfirst into cheesiness. If you don’t believe me, just watch the ending. But, I was very impressed that Hepburn’s eyebrows hadn’t smudged from the rain.
Holly reminds me a little of an Anna Karenina figure, a glamourous socialite woman on the outside, while suffering tremendously by the cruelties of society on the inside. This seemingly shallow story is extremely profound and unique. Also, Holly is often equated with being a representation of the American version of a geisha [a Japanese woman trained in the arts of conversation, performance, and tradition in order to entertain]. Whatever form your version of Holly Golightly molds into, there is no doubt that Capote has formed an iconic character whose personae is both relatable and detestable.
I would definitely recommend Breakfast at Tiffany’s to anyone who likes character-driven stories rather than stories with a lot of action [and explosions!].
About the Book Title: Breakfast at Tiffany's Author: Truman CapoteType: NovellaPages: 142Year Published: 1958Genres & Subjects: fiction, classic, contemporary
Until Next Time,