Truman Capote’s iconic novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s bears only a slight resemblance to the classic Audrey Hepburn film. But that’s definitely not a bad thing. The story follows the unnamed narrator who thinks back on his time spent with “American geisha” Holly Golightly.
The narrator, whom Holly dubs “Fred” in honor of her brother, lives in the same brownstone as Holly and quickly gets sucked into her life. While most of the story just follows small incidents throughout their time together, the plot slowly escalates into a criminal matter that will forever change Holly’s life.
What makes this novella truly stand out is Capote’s writing. His beautiful prose style is comprised of succinct and vivid descriptions that make the characters and the environment come alive in the readers’ imagination. Capote easily captures the essence of the 1940s in New York City in the same way that James Baldwin captures Parisian life in the 1940s in Giovanni’s Room. Both stories also focus on characters who live on the fringe of society and how they respond to that lifestyle.
This novella is a great little read that shows why Capote is such a great writer. And if you enjoy his style, then check out his meatier, groundbreaking book In Cold Blood (a great read for an entirely different reason).
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote (ruthlessreadings.wordpress.com)
- “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” turning 50 (cbsnews.com)