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Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1958)

by Truman Capote

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,162555,146 (3.76)1 / 182
Contains: Breakfast at Tiffany's House of Flowers A Diamond Guitar A Christmas Memory
Recently added byHelgeM, Dogstarman, private library, elisa2020, carlets, BettinaMJohnson, llibresantjoan, Caamano
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» See also 182 mentions

English (38)  Spanish (6)  Italian (4)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Danish (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
She's chic, she's charming
(and casually racist)
all the men love her. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
I cannot and probably should not judge this according to the time it was written. To do so may or may not deepen the impact of it. If I wanted a slightly lighter tone, I could always watch the old movie.

As it is here and now, I feel like I should only judge it by my own sensibilities of this day and time.

The novella is breathless and anxiety-ridden, full of self-aware sexuality and hypocrisy, and it's also a purely whimsical fantasy. That is to say, I fell in love with these flawed characters and my heart broke for them.

Everyone loves Holly. She gives of herself so freely. She's so energetic and playful and outgoing.

And that is her tragedy. She gives away everything. Even her cat. And yet, according to one postcard, she will always be okay. It's really fascinating and heartbreaking because she will never have anything of her own. She lives on the largess of everyone around her and they all love her to death.

I can't give a crap about the fact she sleeps around. She is what she is, and that's what we're meant to see clearly. I love it.

She's very bright. Even her gift of a birdcage to the writer-narrator is astute as hell. She could be talking entirely about him or about his love for her. The point is... there is no bird.

So pretty. So understated. So heartbreaking. ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Incredibly different to the film, you end up intermittently hating and loving Holly. The plot is far darker and the humour is clever. Would highly recommend it but it mightn't necessarily be what you expect. ( )
  Conor.Murphy | May 27, 2020 |



Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a romantic comedy movie starring Audrey Hepburn that the Library of Congress has recently deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. It was a cheesy and mildly offensive (Mickey Rooney’s character) adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella of the same name. I recently had a chance to read Breakfast at Tiffany’s before rewatching the classic film and as I expected, it was another Hollywood butchering.

Like many readers, my first encounter with Breakfast At Tiffany's the book came after seeing the movie. The two have so much in common that it's difficult to separate them in my mind; the movie benefits from having Audrey Hepburn on the screen a lot in some nice costumes, but suffers from Blake Edwards' typical racial stereotyping, with its transformation of Mr Yunioshi into a bad joke.
But then, Audrey was in the story when I read it, too, so closely did her portrayal match the written character. It's rather difficult to believe that Capote favoured Marilyn Monroe for the part (as he is reported to have done) -- Hepburn even looks like the character described in the story, while Monroe doesn't.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s tells the story of the unnamed narrator and Holly Golightly who are tenants in the same Upper East Side brownstone. The novella follows the narrator’s observations the life of this Manhattan café society girl. Holly has no job, but she survives by socialising with wealthy men who in turn give her money and expensive gifts.

Despite the similarities between the novel and the movie, there are some interesting differences too, which I won't list here, as discovering them will be part of the fun of the book for anyone who's seen the movie. It is a novella with many layers to it. Abandonment, loneliness, the need to belong and yet not be chained at the same time, the delight in the unorthodox and last but not the least about not loving a wild thing.

The story is of the narrator's relationship with his neighbour Holly Golightly, proceeding from glimpses on the stairs, to passing acquaintance, to volatile friendship, and finally to unrequited love, and loss. But the real subject of the book is the unfolding of Holly's character and past. The book comes alive when Holly is in the room; she is one of the great memorable characters of modern fiction, and most readers will probably fall in love with her a little

It is important to note that Holly Golightly is not a prostitute; this is a popular misconception that is in fact debunked in the novel. There is a conversation about three thirds of the way through this novella where Holly says she could never be a prostitute, she can’t separate love and sex. Even Truman Capote had to come out and say that she wasn’t a prostitute, saying in an interview that “[Holly] was the prototype of today’s liberated female and representative of a whole breed of girls who live off men but are not prostitutes. They’re our version of the geisha girl.”

It is hard not to compare Breakfast at Tiffany’s the novella with the movie, everyone has seen the movie but I wish the book was as celebrated for its brilliance. The movie has a focus on romance but that’s way off. What I found in the novel was friendship, isolation and on a very basic level hopes and dreams. There was an element of love in the novella but less traditional love, more of a focus on unrequited love (the wealthy men’s towards Holly) and love between friends.

I loved this novella and highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it. Capote’s writing was incredible and I feel like I need to read more of his, In Cold Blood is obviously a priority now.

Also included in the edition I read (and most editions, so far as I can tell) are three short stories by Capote: 'House of Flowers', about a Haitian prostitute; 'A Diamond Guitar', set in a Southern prison; and 'A Christmas Memory', the narrator's (possibly Capote's own) reminiscences of a childhood friend. I wonder how many readers stop when they finish Breakfast? I hope not many. Mainly because on reading 'A Christmas Memory', I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes. Especially when little Buddy is sent off to the military school and his friend is left alone to prepare the christmas cakes all by herself. No where in literature can you find the definition of nostalgic memories so beautifully crafted as in the last two pages of the story.

As for Breakfast at Tiffany's - Holly Golightly is something else. In the end, you pity her because you know, that she will never find her idea of perfection- her "Tiffany's", anywhere in the world. The curse of the wandering soul has left her alone and lonely.

Brilliant. I can't say enough to recommend this brilliant book. Read it first, and then watch the movie. Though Peppard and Hepburn proved worthy actors, the soul of the book, the innocence and the stark realization of real life is not as clearly depicted as in the book.

Capote engages the reader's attention in each story. His language is simple, and the reader never becomes bored with the storylines. Even though the novel was written 50 years ago, the writing is still fresh, has great flow to it, and its timeless. Also, Capote's capacity for dialogue borders on genius. I loved it, and I think capote may become my new favorite. 5 stars. ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
This was one of my best surprises this year in audiobooks. I bought it solely because Michael C. Hall was narrating and ended up loving it. Breakfast at Tiffany's is one of my all-time favorite movies but I never had a desire to read the book. But this looked like a wonderful narrator so I figured "what the heck." What a wonderful story! It's got this magical writing to it that had me picturing the movie. I could see the characters from the movie. The actors so perfectly embodied the characters they played. The book was a bit darker than I remember the movie being but this is a terrific audiobook. ( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (54 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Truman Capoteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Amberg, BillCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blixen, KarenForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Folch i Camarasa, RamonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Golüke, GuidoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grøgaard, Johan FredrikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, Michael C.Narratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hammar, BirgittaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hämäläinen, InkeriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kivivuori, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McInerney, JayIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murillo, EnriqueTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peterson, MarieForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zerning, HeidiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Jack Dunphy
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I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This entry should contain copies containing "Breakfast at Tiffany's" ONLY - please beware that there are very common editions containing this short novel as well as three stories (which is often not noted on the cover!)! Thanks!
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Contains: Breakfast at Tiffany's House of Flowers A Diamond Guitar A Christmas Memory

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The story follows a young writer and his memory of an eccentric, charming call girl named Holly Golightly in Manhattan's Upper East Side.
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