Title: Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Author: Truman Capote.
Genre: Fiction, novella, romance.
Publication Date: 1958.
Summary: The story of the enchanting Holly Golightly, the unforgettable naïve country-girl turned New York good-time girl, as she whisks into her world of glamour and bright lights, makes friends and enchants one of her brownstone neighbours, and struggles to decide if and where she really belongs.
My rating: 8.5/10
My Review: Truman Capote does a truly remarkable thing - something that very few authors have been able to accomplish with me, personally. He presents a heroine that has almost all the qualities I strongly dislike in a girl (something that usually makes me unable to identify with the character, no matter how well he or she may be written), yet she seduces and charms the hell out of me along with the narrator all the same. What I feel about her personality and actions gets pushed to the periphery of my mind, and I become
♥ "You can love somebody without it being like that. You keep them a stranger, a stranger who is a friend."
♥ She was never without dark glasses, she was always well groomed, there was a consequential good taste in the plainness of her clothes, the blues and greys and lack of lustre that made her, herself, shine so.
♥ Don't wanna sleep, Don't wanna die, just wanna go a-travellin' through the pastures of the sky.
♥ She looked at me blankly, and rubbed her nose, as though it tickled: a gesture, seeing often repeated, I came to recognize as a signal that one was trespassing. Like many people with a bold fondness for volunteering intimate information, anything that suggested a direct question, a pinning-down, put her on guard.
♥ "We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don't belong to each other, he's an independent, and so am I. I don't want to own anything until I know I've found the place where me and things belong together. I'm not quite sure where that is quite yet. But I know what it's like." She smiled, and let the cat drop to the floor. "It's like Tiffany's," she said. "Not that I give a hoot about jewellery. ... What I've found does most good is to just get into a taxi and go to Tiffany's. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real-life place that makes me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name."
♥ She was a triumph over ugliness, so often more beguiling than real beauty, if only because it contains a paradox.
♥ "But he does look stupid."
"Yearning. Not stupid. He wants awfully to be on the inside staring out: anybody with their nose pressed against a glass is liable to look stupid."
♥ Earth and air could not be more opposite than Mildred and Holly, yet in my head they acquired a Siamese twinship, and the thread of thought that had sewn them together ran like this: the average personality reshapes frequently, every few years even our bodies undergo a complete overhaul - desirable or not, it is a natural thing that we should change. All right, here were two people who never would. That is what Mildred Grossman had in common with Holly Golightly. They would never change because they'd been given their character too soon; which, like sudden riches, leads to a lack of proportion: the one had splurged herself into a top-heavy realist, the other a lopsided romantic. I imagined them in a restaurant if the future, Mildred still studying the menu for its nutritional values, Holly still gluttonous for everything on it. It would never be different. They would walk through life and out of it with the same determined step that took small notice of those cliffs at the left.
♥ "But you don't know the sweetness of him, the confidence he can give to birds and brats and fragile things like that. Anyone who ever gave your confidence, you owe them a lot."
♥ "Never love a wild thing, Mr Bell," Holly advised him. "That was Doc's mistake. He was always lugging home wild things. A hawk with a hurt wing. One time it was a full-grown bobcat with a broken leg. But you can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That's how you'll end up, Mr Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky."
♥ Or, and the question is apparent, was my outrage a little the result of being in love with Holly myself? A little. For I was in love with her. Just as I'd once been in love with my mother's elderly coloured cook and a postman who let me follow him on his rounds and a whole family named McKendrick. That category of love generated jealousy, too.
♥ "Good? Honest is more what I mean. Not law-type honest - I'd rob a grave, I'd steal two-bits off a dead man's eyes if I thought it would contribute to the day's enjoyment - but unto-thyself-type honest. Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I'd rather have cancer than a dishonest heart. Which isn't being pious. Just practical. Cancer may cool you, but the other's sure to."
♥ Those final weeks, spanning end of summer and the beginning of another autumn, are blurred in memory, perhaps because our understanding of each other had reached that sweet depth where two people communicate more often in silence than in words: an affectionate quietness replaces the tensions, the unrelaxed chatter and chasing about that produce a friendship's more slowly, more, in the surface sense, dramatic moments. Frequently, when he was out of town (I'd developed hostile attitudes towards him, and seldom used his name) we spent entire evenings together during which we exchanged less than a hundred words; once, we walked all the way to Chinatown, ate a chow-mein supper, bought some paper lanterns, and stole a box of joss sticks, then moseyed across the Brooklyn Bridge, and on the bridge, as we watched seaward-moving ships pass between the cliffs of burning skyline, she said: "Years from now, years and years, one of those ships will bring me back, me and my nine Brazilian brats. Because yes, they must see this, these lights, the river - I love New York, even though it isn't mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it." And I said: "Do shut up," for I felt infuriatingly left out - a tugboat in dry-dock while she, glittery voyager of secure destination, steamed down the harbour with whistles whistling and confetti in the air.
♥ "See?" she shouted. "It's great!"
And suddenly it was. Suddenly, watching the tangled colours of Holly's hair flash in the red-yellow leaf light, I loved her enough to forget myself, my self-pitying despairs, and be content that something she thought happy was going to happen.
♥ "Oh, Jesus God. We did belong to each other. He was mine."
Then I made her a promise, I said I'd come back and find her cat: "I'll take care of him, too. I promise."
She smiled: that cheerless new pinch of a smile. "But what about me?" she said, whispered, and shivered again. "I'm very scared, Buster. Yes, at last. Because it could go on for ever. Not knowing what's yours until you've thrown it away."