BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S: A Novel & Three Stories by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany’s won my heart at the age of eight when I saw the film starring Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. I coveted Holly Golightly’s free spirit and was oblivious to her occupation as a fille de joie. Even once I did comprehend, the romantic power of a woman transforming herself for a better life, intertwined with the film’s actual romance negated any morality I might have objected to.

Years later when I read the novella, I was surprised to find the story wasn’t written as a romance. The romantic optimist in me was disappointed, but I believe I grew to love Holly Golightly more without the red ribbon ending. She possesses gumption and spirit, and a deep self-respect that ensures her survival and happiness.

Have you noticed I’m discussing Miss Holiday Golightly as if she is a real person? The result of great writing.

Recently, a dear friend gifted me a first addition copy of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A Short Novel and Three Stories. My response, “Joy. Rapture. You have no idea how much this means to me.” Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of two stories (the other by Paul Gallico) that connect me to my artistic roots.

But Capote’s work offers more than sentimental memories for me. His writing inspires and challenges the writer in me to reach higher and never settle for good enough. I haven’t read all of his books, but I don’t believe his material can be categorized by genre such as mystery, thriller, suspense or romance. Yet every one of these elements is present in his short stories. He doesn’t have high stakes tension on every page, although there is an uneasiness regarding the unknown that dares the readers to figure out how the stories will end—I don’t possess that ability. Even what appears to be the simplest tale, A Christmas Memory holds an intrigue that leaves us wondering and pondering.

This factor of the unknown is delivered with a slight of hand because Capote is a master of conversation. His stories capture the essence of a time long gone, when families gathered together in the evenings to hear Grandpa tell a tall tale, or listen to stories on the radio, or hear the next installment of Dicken’s in the evening newspaper.

Truman Capote is a true storyteller, who reels us in with tiny turns of phrase and uncanny descriptions, then holds us captive until the story ends, and when it does, like Oliver Twist, we want some more.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and settle down with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.