My favorite place to have breakfast is at Tiffany’s.
Well, I took a break from reading self-development books and memoirs to pick up one of America’s classics: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. It is highly unlikely that you haven’t at least heard of – if not seen – Audrey Hepburn’s showcase of this short novel. If case you have not, here is the Amazon summary:
Immortalized by Audrey Hepburn’s sparkling performance in the 1961 film of the same name, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is Truman Capote’s timeless portrait of tragicomic cultural icon Holly Golightly, published in Penguin Modern Classics. 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 department’, and one of the shining flowers of American fiction.
I have watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s a handful of times and have always been a big Audrey Hepburn fan (actually, I once drew a portrait of Hepburn that was selected to compete in an art competition!), but I never thought to read the book. I finally picked it up and drove right in. Two hours later, I returned from Holly’s whimsical, eccentric and elusive world and back into my own.
Holly is floating through life. Like her last name suggests, she is fluttering and fleeting around the world, lightly stopping here or there looking for a place to call home. Upon finding herself in New York, the narrator (who is Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall in the Audible version!) finds her and, like the reader, becomes enraptured.
Holly Golightly is an incomparable character. Crafted as both independent and lonely, self-serving and loyal, wild and caged, there are few literary characters that are as dynamic and developed as she. The characteristic contradictions that Capote is able to produce in so short a story is a true show of genius.
In this book, you will follow Holly as she explores her understanding of the people and world around her. Holly’s mission is to find a place that makes her as happy as Tiffany’s does, but all the while she is trying to run from her past.
I believe Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a must-read (and an integral reflection of American cultural). The exquisitely rich and lyrical writing of Capote transports you to a time passed, with personalities that weren’t quite realized, yet completely imaginable. Insightful but still incredibly naive, Holly’s contradictory nature reflects the world we live in.
Like Holly, aren’t we all searching for the need to belong and create a future without the chains of our past?
Fun fact: the famed title came from a place of ignorance. When an out-of-town visitor came to New York, he was asked where he would like to eat breakfast. Knowing little about the city, he suggested the only name he knew of and replied, “Well, let’s have breakfast at Tiffany’s.” When Capote heard of this, he took the idea and ran with it.
Have you had breakfast at Tiffany’s with Holly? Let us know below.