My familiarity with Breakfast at Tiffany’s has previously been limited to the movie with Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard and a song by Deep Blue Something. I like both the movie and the song very much – both carrying a tiny corner in my heart. I had never read the original Capote and, lo and behold, I have found a new voice to which to listen!
Capote’s style is deceptively simple. His voice is clear and distinct, but never in the foreground. He is not an intrusive author but, rather, one who shows us the foibles and strengths of his characters without judgement. More often, there is a ruefully sad undertone to this novella that is far more poignant than even the final scene in the movie, where Holly Golightly finds Cat in the rain.
Even if a person has seen the movie a thousand times, the novella is worth the read. My familiarity with Capote has been with In Cold Blood, where I appreciated his distance as an author from the subject of his work while providing what could have been tedious details in a compelling narrative that bordered on investigative journalism with the slight addition of perfect adjectives. Breakfast at Tiffany’s finds an unseen and unnamed narrator swept into the whirlwind of Holiday Golightly, Traveling. The seedy side of life is acknowledged without unnecessary shock or surprise. The concept of belonging becomes omnipresent, and the sadness of wondering about belonging runs underneath the words like a river. I am swept away for the moment. I am in another world, in another time, in another place.
To be able to string these words together is to string pearls on a strand. One bead too short and the necklace will not fit. One bead too long and it hangs in quite the wrong place on the throat. Capote strings pearls on strands exactly long enough.
Hearts: 8.5/10. It’s not quite perfect, but I certainly cannot imagine the talent that strung those words together.