Let’s face it, the film ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is iconic. Who doesn’t immediately picture the lovely and elegant Audrey Hepburn when someone mentions the name Holly Golightly in conversation? I pretty much grew up with this movie—and it is a good movie, though a little sentimental and tinged with studio conventions. And let’s not forget the rather embarrassing portrayal of Mr. Yunioshi by the talented Mickey Rooney, saddled with fake Asian eyes and buck teeth. Really, Hollywood?
Thankfully, the novella is not that. I had the pleasure of reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s recently and found it to be sweet, charming and a little heartbreaking. The Holly of this book is much younger—not quite nineteen, in fact. She’s not brunette either but blonde—or something resembling blonde with “tawny streaks.” Like the movie, though, she makes her way in New York generally by using men and acting educated. And she’s running—always running. Even her business card reads, Miss Holiday Golightly, Traveling. All I can say is, I wish someone would make this movie!
There’s a bonus in this 50th anniversary edition—a short story by Truman Capote entitled “A Christmas Memory.” I recall seeing the PBS production years ago, narrated by Capote. The story is evocative and sad, and it’s easily the best Christmas-themed story I’ve ever read.
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In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary landscape. Holly Golightly knows that nothing bad can ever happen to you at Tiffany’s; her poignancy, wit, and naïveté continue to charm.
This volume also includes three of Capote’s best-known stories, “House of Flowers,” “A Diamond Guitar,” and “A Christmas Memory,” which the Saturday Review called “one of the most moving stories in our language.” It is a tale of two innocents—a small boy and the old woman who is his best friend—whose sweetness contains a hard, sharp kernel of truth.
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