Breakfast at Tiffany’s: Truman Capote

Good afternoon readers, hope you’re well and happy on this grey Friday morning. It’s been an odd week and I for one can’t wait for the weekend. I feel like I haven’t slept in months, my eyes feel like they’re coated in sawdust and although exhausted once I get into bed and snuggle down I’m bone awake, it’s been a nightmare. However, late nights wide awake lead to lots of hours available for reading and today it’s my seventh classic book review, this time of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffanies

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There is something rather pensive and thoughtful about this novel, when reading I felt almost like I had read it before and yet of course I hadn’t. It feels nostalgic and hopeful, a beautiful place where parties storm through the night restless and unyielding, where love could be found and lost in an evening, where the stereotypical rules of life disappeared, where one could or should be living life to the full. I wanted to fall through the pavement and end up in Capote’s stunning reinvention of New York City. Before I get a little to whimsical, I didn’t actually know this was a book until I was browsing the shelves of my lovely little local library. One of my 101 things in 1001 days task was to watch an Audrey Hepburn movie and this was the one I chose, unaware of it being a novel. Despite this I loved both.

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The story is told from the point of view of “Fred”, a struggling young writer, who gets to know Holly when she moves into an apartment in his old brownstone in New York during the Second World War. Through her constant misplacing of her keys and her various parties the two become dear although unconventional friends. Over the course of the year and half that he knows her, Fred experiences the whirlwind that is Holly Golightly; a character that we later find out is hiding a number of skeletons in the closet. Her invented self is an outgoing, raucous and frank. However every so often we get to see the truly vulnerable and raw character she really is. The writing to describe this is beautifully done and makes Holly Golightly even more adorable. The book follows a number of plotlines, the visiting of the supposed mobster Sally Tomato in prison every week, Holly meeting a Hollywood agent named O.J. Berman, who once tried to get her into movies, an ill-fated holiday with a number of the supporting characters and a marriage (or two.) But it’s not really about the story, not for me anyway.

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I fell in love this book mainly because of the main character; although a walking contradiction she has the blazon confidence, a blasé approach to life, the idea that she’s passing through not really belonging anywhere. This is seen in her owning of a nameless cat that she houses and that although living in her apartment for almost a year she has no furniture and her belongings are instead stashed in boxes and crates. However with a beaming smile upon her face and her darkened sunglasses Miss Golightly goes out to face the world and find a place that makes her feel like she does when she’s in Tiffanies; her only solace.

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Technically the writing is sublime, the prose moves effortlessly, stringing together characters, events, descriptions and the bustling New York into a book that I simply couldn’t put down. The characters are built up delightfully and change based on the mood of Miss Holly and her effervescent character profile. It’s the delicate prose and narrative intertwined into such a short book it could be described as a novella. You get the feeling that ever single word matters, each perfectly placed to give just the right feel, the right personality and it does. The book sings to me as a reader and I loved it dearly. The ending does differ from the movie and it works well with the symbolism that is used throughout; the idea of a caged bird, being able to leave everything at the drop of a hat. Both work well, but I’m still deciding which I prefer of the two. A simple stunner of a book that you truly have to read.

3 Comments

  1. April 3, 2015 / 5:11 pm

    Nice review Lizzy, it makes me want to read the book, as a good book review should do.

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