Breakfast at Tiffany's (Anglais) Broché – 7 avril 2011
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Revue de presse
A master writer ... makes the heart sing and the narrative fly (The New York Times)
One of the century's greatest storytellers (Independent on Sunday)
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Breakfast at Tiffany's revolves around Holly Golightly, the former starlet and cafe society item, who floats lightly through life (like cotton fibers in the wind) looking for where she belongs. Ms. Golightly is and will remain one of the most original and intriguing characters in American fiction. Like a magician, she is both more and less than she seems. But she has an appreciation for people and animals that goes to the core of her soul that will touch you (if you are like me), especially in her desire that they and she be free.
The novel has a harder edge and is more revealing about human nature than the movie is. Of the two, I suggest you start with the novel and graduate to the movie. You will appreciate the portrayal by Audrey Hepburn of the inner Holly more that way. The same humor is in both the novel and the movie, as well as the innocent look at life for what it can be, believing in the potential of things to work out for the best.
Despite that upbeat note, her weakness is that for all of her ability to understand what motivates other people she does not understand herself well enough to know when she does belong with and to others. This is symbolized by her abandonment of her unnamed cat, and quick realization that they do belong together. As for the friends she leaves behind, she never seems to appreciate how much they love her and want to be with her. As a result, she abandons them as well . . . leaving them with memories to warm their winter nights.
Mr. Capote is now realized to have been a more autobiographical writer than was appreciated when he first published his fiction. Your understanding of Breakfast at Tiffany's will grow if you keep in mind that it was modeled in part on his friendship with Marilyn Monroe. If you do not know her history, you will find that it closely paralleled Holly's through age 18.
The same is true of his short story, "A Christmas Memory." I suggest that you read about Mr. Capote's childhood in the recent book, A Southern Haunting of Truman Capote, to fully appreciate the magic of this story. His "friend" in the story was based on a beloved figure in his young life, who endowed him with a special sense of being loved and appreciated that formed an important foundation for his character and his skill as a writer. The beautiful devotion that she showed to him is reflected in the loving descriptions he makes of their experiences during their last Christmas together before he was shipped off to military boarding schools at age 8.
"A Diamond Guitar" is about the Platonic love of an older man for a younger one in prison. Like all unrequited love, the older man eventually finds himself embarrassed and exposed. But the experience remains a touchstone to tender feelings in his heart, and he keeps his young friend's glass-diamond-studded guitar under his bed . . . even though it doesn't sound good when others play it and is becoming shabby with age.
"House of Flowers" is a hard look at the vast differences in the ways that women and men view their relationships with one another. Even when loving, the message seems to be that the men will always take advantage of the women. The women, however, acquire soulful beauty in their ability to overcome that needy exploitation and appreciate belonging to one another and to the men.
This story tells the tale of a young woman who works in a house of ill fame in Haiti, and is charmed into "marrying" a young, poor hill man who is dominated by his spell-casting grandmother. Together, the young couple overcome the challenge, and build on their love for one another.
Budding novelists are sometimes encouraged to study nature closely to draw inspiration. Although I do not know if Mr. Capote ever received or followed that advice, it is very clear that he retained a childlike ability to see the world as fresh and new every time. No detail, no nuance, no quirk was too small or unimportant to pass by him or to fail to cast its charm upon him. Kindly and gently, Mr. Capote takes the reader by the hand and shows what makes these elements so interesting to him. In this way, the reader's world is expanded, enlightened, and improved.
These four stories reverbrate against one another, like the continuing vibrations after a large bell after pealing four times, and create a combined effect beyond what any single story can provide.
After you have finished enjoying these stories and the movie, I suggest that you makes some notes about where you belong, who you belong with and to, and what that says about you. In this way, you can notice important connections that mean a lot to you and others that you may be slighting. Honor those tendrils in the way that Mr. Capote would if he were writing a story about your life.
Notice and touch life intimately and lovingly to find truth and beauty!
Breakfast at Tiffany's - if you already do not know what its about, may be because you haven't read it - the plot is simple: It is about lost dreams, sometimes unrequited love and a whole lot of wit, profundity and the chance to go the whatever length in order to get what one wants. It is about Holiday Golightly [love the play of words] and her life or rather a fragment of her life, as seen through the eyes of the narrator Paul. Paul who loves Holly like all the other men in her life. Holly, who is also an escort/call girl. A girl who is all of twenty and possesses the wisdom of a thirty-year old without losing her naivety. Who believes that one mustn't betray friends, no matter what. Who jumps into a cab and visits "Tiffany & Co." when she gets the `mean reds'. Holly is everything and more. She is promiscuous. She is brazen. She does things like stealing masks and as Billy Joel would put it, "She's always a woman to me"...
Breakfast at Tiffany's is a novella with many layers to it. Abandonment, loneliness, the need to belong and yet not be chained at the same time, the delight in the unorthodox and last but not the least about not loving a wild thing. As Holly says in the book, ""Never love a wild thing, Mr. Bell...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"
The book was written by Capote at the peak of his career. The somewhat "curious" title Breakfast at Tiffany's was inspired by a man from out-of-town that Capote heard about, who was "ignorant of New York". When the man was asked to pick from the best restaurants in New York where to eat breakfast, he replied: "Well, let's have breakfast at Tiffany's," which was the only place he knew of.
Written in 1958, it portrays a world in which women were invariably best seen and not heard, and totally reliant on men for money and worldly comforts. And yet Capote has created a female character that is largely independent and emotionally strong, although she's vulnerable too (loneliness, depression and desperation are hinted at). While she might be having a lot of fun, she's also on the run from a past that is forever trying to catch up with her as she tries to find a place that makes her feel as happy as Tiffany's does.
All in all, this short novella is a joy to read. Capote's writing is typically rich and lyrical. He describes this woman in such a way that you get the sense he has moulded her on someone that intrigued him, that held some allure or had an aura of mysticism that left a deep impression.
Like I said, I'm a grown man, really unaccustomed to shedding tears especially if induced by a book. But it happened.
As for Breakfast at Tiffany's - Holly Golightly is something else. In the end, you pity her because you know, that she will never find her Tiffany anywhere in the world. The curse of the wandering soul has left her alone and lonely.
Brilliant. I can't say enough to recommend this brilliant book. Read it first, and then watch the movie. Though Peppard and Hepburn proved worthy actors, the soul of the book, the innocence and the stark realization of real life is not as clearly depicted as in the book.
Other reviewers have gone into detail about the stories themselves and I don't find that very interesting anyway, so I'll leave you to explore that for yourself. I will tell you that if you like Hemmingway or Fitzgerald, then Capote's observations and will strike a cord with you. His writing - clear, emotionally invoking and efficient in word is perhaps not as poetic as these two, but is their equal in impact.
The stories are rather short and I found myself wishing they were longer if only to prolong exposure to his work. If you have little experience with Capote, you will not be disappointed.