“The vision of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in the film adaptation of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is so iconic and inescapable that, even forty-seven years later, it is virtually impossible to read the original novella except through the lens of the film darkly. And yet Capote’s voice, with its carefully acquired jaded lyricism, makes the experience of reading this story quite different than watching the film. Suffice it to say that Capote’s vision is much darker and much more interesting than Blake Edwards’.
"Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is a slender masterpiece, a work of perfect craftsmanship. It was Capote’s breakthrough to a new prose style, a bold re-invention of what kind of writer he wanted to be. He was no longer the precocious boy dazzling the grown ups with nightmarish and nostalgic tales of an imaginary Southern Gothic childhood. The Capote of “Tiffany’s” is adult, sophisticated, cynical, discreetly homosexual and thoroughly urban. His glistening style is newly streamlined, with brand new matter. Gossip, which has come to define our collective image of the man, forms the framework of the story and is the air his heroine breathes. Holly is, above all else, someone who is talked about. She is Capote’s fantasy and surrogate – like her creator, she is a completely glamorous self-invention. And also an enigma – along with everyone in the story, we watch her in fascination but we’re never given access. By the end, we don’t know whether to pity Holly or envy her. But like the narrator, we continue to be touched and haunted by her. We worry.
“A Christmas Memory”, one of the short stories also included in this volume, is considered by many to be the height of Capote’s art. ”
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