Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

TAMMI, 2010/1958

From Goodreads:

Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a brilliant glimmer of the excitement of 40’s New York. Holly Golightly – brashly beautiful with a slim black dress, a mysterious past and dark glasses over varicoloured eyes – entrances all the men she meets, including the young writer living above her, though her recklessness may yet catch up with her.

Also containing three short stories, ‘House of Flowers’, ‘Diamond Guitar’ and ‘A Christmas Memory’, this book shows the elegance and warmth of Capote’s writing at its most flawless.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my favourite Audrey Hepburn films – my favourite is Sabrina, which is also a book that I’d recommend to read. I think she was a wonderful actress who also had heart to help others. So when I found this book at the Helsinki Book Fair, I was wondering whether it would be any good. The edition that I read contains also three other short stories by Truman Capote. The book was translated into Finnish so that Breakfast at Tiffany’sHouse of Flowers, Diamond Guitar were translated by Inkeri Hämäläinen, and A Christmas Memory was translated by Kristiina Kivivuori.

Those of you who have seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s might know the basic storyline: The story is told from the point of view of a young male writer who moves to an apartment in New York and gradually becomes acquainted with his downstairs neighbour, Miss Holiday Golightly. Holly is not like the other women and seems to live in a fantasy world created by her rich admirers. With the balance of youthful playing and partying, and the reality of work commitments and on-going World War Two, is interesting to see how the characters react when faced with problems.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Blake Edwards’ film is pretty loyal to the book, with a few exceptions. However, the downfall for me was the translation. It was at times wonky and didn’t support the story. At some point I gave up and tried to focus only on the plot, not the writing. Capote is a terrific writer, as proven in the three short stories, but for some reason I didn’t get as much enjoyment reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s as I did with reading the short stories. The description of the settings and the tone of writing in them was just beautiful. My favourite of the three was A Christmas Memory which, funny enough, fits the upcoming holiday season. The story was just heartwarming and with the few twists, entertaining to read.

All this being said, I do think that Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is recommendable – at least to all those who love the film.


“It’s bad enough in life to do without something YOU want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want THEM to have.”


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