Reviewer: Tall, Short & Tiny
It is impossible to read, or indeed review, Breakfast at Tiffany’s without conjuring up that famous image of Audrey Hepburn in her black gown and jewelled headdress, standing outside Tiffany’s in New York City, coffee in hand. In fact, I’m the first to admit that for a long time, I had no idea that one of my favourite films was in fact based on Truman Capote’s novella.
Sometimes, having seen the film first can ruin the subsequent reading of the book. However, there are so many points of difference between the two that there’s no possible cause for true comparison. Both, in my opinion, are fantastic…but that’s not much of a review now, is it?
The novella is narrated by a writer living in the same apartment building as one Holly Golightly, a mysterious, outwardly sophisticated but inwardly lonely and scared young woman with a penchant for rich suitors and expensive drink. She is the object of desire for virtually every man she meets, and while she often benefits from the attention, it is apparent that she is uncomfortable with her own beauty and attractiveness. She decides, on their first meeting, to call the narrator ‘Fred’, as he reminds her of his brother. It is hinted at that the writer is gay and that Holly is an escort, but these remain speculations.
Holly has many admirers, and throws many parties frequented by many men, yet she seems to be perpetually alone. She has a cat for company, but even then, she doesn’t wish for any sense of belonging to exist between the two. In the early part of the novel, Holly comes across as flighty, and the reader almost expects to find her vanished at the turn of the next page, but when she does disappear, it is a disappointment and the reader – along with our friendly narrator – is left hoping that she is all right.
I enjoy Capote’s style of writing. It is elegant and flowing, warm and enthralling. In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, he relies heavily on dialogue rather than description to tell the story, and that appeals to me immensely (I am the sort who will skim through a tedious book until I reach the dialogue; the relationships between characters is always my favourite part). This is a short story (94 pages in my copy), and a very easy, enjoyable read, earning 4/5 stars from me.
I haven’t Breakfast at Tiffany’s or seen the movie! I knew it was a book, but I didn’t know it was a novella. Perhaps I’ll pick it up if I enjoy In Cold Blood (although it seems like they couldn’t be more different!).