Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Anyone who has dreams, and seen some dreams die, should read Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He or she will empathise with Holly Golightly like her real friends, who — to a man — are her silent lovers. Like the author himself. This is a love story told by the silent lover, a prose version of Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. Think of the lover and the maiden in the poem, and you know the ending of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s just as tender and romantic.
Holly is fascinating from the moment she steps into the author’s apartment, slipping out through a window of her own apartment to escape from a drunken lover. She is so mixed up you want to straighten her out, and so irresistible you want to be the man in her life. But that’s like playing with fire. Smart, manipulative, entertaining men to marry someone rich and successful, Holly is no respecter of the law. But she shoplifts and helps the Mafia so blithely it’s hard to think of her as a criminal. She is warm and and lively and fiercely independent. “I want to still be me when I wake up one morning and have breakfast at Tiffany’s,” she tells the author, sharing her dream.
But Breakfast at Tiffany’s is no fairy tale. Holly Golightly gets more than her just desserts. But that doesn’t kill her spirit. A “lop-sided romantic” in the author’s words, she is willing to pursue her dream to the ends of the earth.
This is a story of dreams and spirits undiminished even in defeat and adversity.
Truman Capote tells a heartwarming story in just over a hundred pages. The writing is simple and vivid.
What makes Holly unforgettable is scenes like the one where she introduces herself to the author and, later, when they have their quarrel. While giving her an oil massage in her apartment, he accuses her of being a mercenary, hooking up with a rich man for his money. Holly is furious. Capote writes:
She sat up on the army cot, her face, her naked breasts coldly blue in the sun-lamp light. “It should take about four seconds for you to walk from here to the door. I’ll give you two.”
Holly is tempestuous, vulnerable, beautiful and unforgettable. Her image is all the more indelible because beautiful Audrey Hepburn played her role in the film.