19 Jul 2018

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (+ 3 OTHER SHORT STORIES).


BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (+3 OTHER SHORT STORIES) by TRUMAN CAPOTE.


It's New York in the 1940s, where the martinis flow from cocktail hour till breakfast at Tiffany's. And nice girls don't, except, of course, for Holly Golightly: glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while - down. Pursued by to Salvatore 'Sally' Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing and 'Rusty' Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town, Holly is a fragile eyeful of tawny hair and turned-up nose, a heart-breaker, a perplexer, a traveller, a tease. She is irrepressibly 'top banana in the shock deparment', and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.

This edition also contains three stories: 'House of Flowers', 'A Diamond Guitar' and 'A Christmas Memory'.
- Back Cover Blurb

I am always drawn back to the places where I have lived, the houses and their neighbourhoods.
First Sentence, Breakfast At Tiffany's

'Don't cry,' I say, sitting at the bottom of her bed and shivering despite my flannel nightgown that smells of last winter's cough syrup
- Memorable Moment, Page 150, 
SOURCE ... A Reader's Group read.

READ FOR A CHALLENGE? ... No.

MY THOUGHTS ... As seemingly one of the few who hasn't seen the film let alone read the book, other than an image of I think it was Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, I had no preconceived ideas whatsoever about Breakfast At Tiffany's and yet, oddly enough, I came away disappointed.

Embarrassed by just how long this took to read. In my defence, totally put off by the writing style, the non-stop dialogue; the lack of plot; the 'Americanisms' that meant nothing to me, that I had to Google; the fact that Holly featured in it very little, that what we did learn of her left me wondering why anyone would fall so madly, so obsessively in love with her. 

Thankfully not the only novella in this particular edition, this, a reprinted 2000 Penguin classics edition, also contained House Of Flowers, A Diamond Guitar and A Christmas Memory.

The second short story that, weird and inane, proved to be not to my taste, House Of Flowers also revolves around what I felt to be a rather foolish woman. Suffice to say that by now I was desperate for a Capote novella with a strong female lead ... Oh! and speech marks of which in this particular story there were none. Just a small and relatively insignificant complaint I know but it does annoy me.

Phew! Thankfully no whores and no prostitutes ... just prisoners. As with many other short stories I felt the plot of A Diamond Guitar to be rushed; the characterisation not all I'd hoped it to be; the ending abrupt but, still, at least this one held my interest for the duration.

A heartwarming reflection of Capote's seven year old self. Short but incredibly sweet (a tissue or two might prove indispensable). At only 16 or so pages left longing for more, A Christmas Memory is the one redeeming feature of what I otherwise thought was a fairly nondescript collection.



7 comments:

Kelly said...

Don't feel bad.... I've not seen the film version of Breakfast at Tiffany's, either. Nor have I read the book or any of Truman Capote's work.

I've had Breakfast at Tiffany's on my wish list for quite some time, along with In Cold Blood. I still would like to read both, but maybe I should begin with the latter, despite it's gruesome premise.

Brian Joseph said...

I have been reading to read this story as well as additional Capote for a long time. I have only read In Cold Blood. I am thinking that the Americanisms in this story are probably very old. I would guess that a lot of American readers would be looking them up too.

Suko said...

Tracy,
I've seen the movie version of Breakfast at Tiffany's (years ago!), but I haven't read it, nor the other three stories. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this collection of short fiction.

nightwingsraven said...

Tracy,
Like Suko, I saw the film version
of Breakfast at Tiffany's. But
I do not need to see it again. And
from what I understood Truman Capote
wanted Marilyn Monroe for the part of
Holly.
After reading your heartfelt and honest
review, I an uncertain if I would want
to read the book.
Raven

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I had the same thought as Brian re Americanisms :)

The Bookworm said...

I have seen the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. I liked the film but Holly's character was not too likeable. I'm curious to read Capote one day. Great post!

Karen Alderman said...

I have not seen it either!

I like learning about places but when you have to google just to make sense of things...not so much.

Karen @ For What It's Worth