Breakfast at Tiffany’s

By Truman Capote

Rating: 3 stars

Like many modern readers, I imagine, I came to this book through the rather wonderful Audrey Hepburn film of the same name. The story that formed the basis for the film is short (I’d call it a novella) and this volume also contains three of Capote’s short stories as well. Starting with the title story, the basic plot is similar to the film, although the narrator is unnamed here, and any love is one-sided. The character of Holly Golightly is fairly similar, although from memory (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it), in the film, the character is possibly softened a bit, and the ending of the book is different, but totally in keeping with the character as she’s presented here. The story left me with a mild feeling of melancholy and a sort of pity for Holly, who keeps chasing happiness but seems destined to never find it.

Of the other three stories, they all continue with the melancholic theme to varying extents. The first of them is possibly the one that leaves the protagonist the happiest, although that is very definitely just one interpretation of the story. The second sees an older man in a prison, who finds unwanted hope in new inmate. Lots of stuff about age, wisdom, suppressed sexuality and more in this one. The final story is the most openly melancholic, in that it’s very definitely a happy memory, but bitterweeet as well. The end of that period of happiness.

This is my first attempt at reading Capote and although I enjoyed the title story and appreciated the others, I don’t know if I’ll explicitly search out any more of his work. There seems to be a sort of, if not exactly bitterness, then resignation at the state of human affairs, and I tend to prefer more optimistic work.

Book details

Publisher: Penguin Books, UK
Year of publication: 1958

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