Breakfast At Tiffany’s
The inspiration for the iconic 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn, Truman Capote’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s is a delightful novella that perfectly encapsulates 1940s New York and the multitude of personalities in the cosmopolitan city.
Breakfast At Tiffany’s is a young writer’s account of his interactions with his downstairs neighbour, the elusive, glamorous, café society girl, Holly Golightly. Set in the Upper East Side during wartime, Golightly is a ‘highly publicised girl-about-New York’ who is known for her dalliances with the men of Manhattan, is associated with jailbird Sally Tomato, and who seeks comfort in luxury jewellery store Tiffany’s. The writer, dubbed ‘Fred’ by Golightly as he reminds her of her brother, is intrigued by the naïve and often aloof socialite. Throughout the course of the book, however, it is evident that Golightly is hiding a mysterious past.
When reading Capote’s novella, it is difficult not to imagine Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly, as the role is so ingrained in popular culture and almost synonymous with the actress. Much like the film, Golightly is depicted as the guitar-playing, party-throwing cat owner who complains of suffering from the ‘mean reds’, but it becomes clear that the movie was adapted for a romance-hungry Hollywood audience, as the plot diverges from that of Capote’s original novel.
Although it was different to the film, I loved Breakfast At Tiffany’s, along with the three short stories in the Penguin edition. While it is certainly a product of its time, sixty years on it remains a relevant tale about stability versus freedom, and is deserving of its title as one of the twentieth century’s classic novels.
Emily Pullen, WHSmith Australia