Truman Capote •
Breakfast at Tiffany’s •
Truman Capote does more with six words than most writers can do with a hundred, and that alone is reason to read him. He also knows a thing or two about the human heart, notably about how the most important people in your life can show up in the least expected guises.
For the narrator, it begins when a Tiffany-engraved card appears in the lobby of his New York apartment building. “It nagged me like a tune: Miss Holiday Golightly, Travelling.” Over a period of months, Holly—the “lopsided romantic” with “ragbag” hair—moves from peripheral acquaintance to preferred companion, almost without his realizing it. Capote has a masterful way with scene (“The room was strewn, like a girls’ gymnasium”), and he takes us through the flowering of this unique friendship right up until the day Holly gets on a plane for Rio, leaving him—and us—behind.
The movie version notwithstanding, Breakfast at Tiffany’s isn’t a romance. But the narrator is in love with Holly—“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 generates jealousy, too.”
In this case, it also generates a bittersweet tale of horseback rides through Central Park, shoplifting at the five and dime, and visits to Sally Tomato in Sing Sing. Capote’s lovely little book runs a scant hundred pages; you won’t want it to end.