Books »Breakfast at Tiffany’s

breakfast at tiffany's truman capoteHolly Golightly was Truman Capote's most beloved character and when the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's was finally released (after his struggle to come up with an edning) she became a cultural phenomenon. It's a quick, one-and-a-half-sitting read and, though it was critically derided as “slight” by some upon its release, like all of his magnificent prose, it's a touching, well crafted gem.

I hesitated for years to read it; I was so familiar with the 1961 film adaptation, as I'm sure most people are (or god help us, some younger generations may only be aware of the horrendously annoying Deep Blue Something pop tune), and I tend to be a bit less interested in reading a book after seeing the movie, feeling like I already know what's going to happen. Capote's books, though, are never really about plot points. This one is a slightly rambling ode to a fascinating and fey woman, but it's the author's singular voice that excites and leaves a lasting impression.

The book and the movie are in many ways fairly similar, entire lines of dialogue were lifted from the novella and used in Blake Edwards's movie, but there are considerable differences. Most obviously, the book is not a romance, at least not the George Peppard, heartfelt kisses in the rain kind at all–and the film omits the grand, scheming amazonian model friend Mag Wildwood, which really is a shame.

Still, unfair comparisons aside, both are stand-alone classics. While not quite as high on my list as his unfinished novel Answered Prayers or the true crime masterpiece In Cold Blood, any fan of Capote's work should take an afternoon to revel in this little love note of a book.

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Posted on September 8, 2008

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