Monday, September 6, 2010

The great library challenge: Capote, Truman Breakfast at Tiffany's

Posted by lea at 4:25 PM
I chose this book for my 'C' author because:
  • Truman Capote has a big reputation and I wanted to know if his writing lived up to it;
  • I never really got why people loved the movie so much, and thought maybe the literary version would enlighten me;
  • I was travelling overseas (more in my next post) and wanted something short and quick that I could finish before I left.
I didn't have time to post my review before I left, so it's been two very long weeks and lots of experience since finishing this book, but to the best of my recollection, it was pretty good.

I still don't get why people love it so much - or more to the point, love 'her' so much. Holly Golightly. Quite a refreshing character in some ways, but totally flighty (not necessarily a bad thing), selfish, social-climbing, racist and immature in so many others. It's easy to love Audrey Hepburn in her very stylish portrayal of Holly, but as a literary character, she doesn't quite pass muster. One can't really understand why so many other characters in the book are obsessed with her, and personally, I think that Capote actually manages to portray a rather emotionally disturbed young lady who can't (or doesn't want to) connect with reality.

However, Capote's narrative style is impressive. He immerses you immediately in the 1950s New York social scene (for some reason I kept imagining everything in black and white) and his writing is like a confident hand in the small of your back pushing you along.

As for the next books in the challenge, I had a hard time picking my D author and easy time picking my E author. The only stipulation for this challenge is that I mustn't have read any of the author's books before.

So D is Becoming Strangers by Louise Dean, and E is The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco. Yes, shame on me for having never read him before.


Fred Bloggs! on September 8, 2010 at 2:38 PM said...

Hi Lea,
Love the cool blog!
Some ideas for your F author:
Anything by Carlos Fuentes should be good, or
Pillars of the Earth by Follett (Surry Hills library has the sequel World without End, but the nice library staff can get it sent in for you if you like!

Valerie on September 11, 2010 at 2:14 AM said...

I read "Breakfast at Tiffany's" a while ago, and watched the movie (for the first time) soon after reading. I was struck by how different the movie was. Holly was definitely more rough around the edges in the written story (actually, all the characters were a bit more seedy in the original).

Injera on September 27, 2010 at 3:22 PM said...

Hi there - was just alerted to your blog by Reality Raver and have spent most of the morning browsing through the book archives.

I read BAT so long ago that my recollection of it is really faint, but I do remember feeling quite confused when I saw the film. Such a strange take on the source material!

You're well past the "c"s now, but I highly recommend Capote's "In Cold Blood".

lea on September 27, 2010 at 4:38 PM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lea on September 27, 2010 at 4:39 PM said...

@Bradley: thanks for the suggestions - will take them on board if I EVER get to F. Umberto Eco is taking aaaaages.

@Valerie: totally agree the movie 'smooths' out the characters - at least Holly doesn't say 'niggers' 'coons' and 'dykes' in the film version!

@Injera: thanks for stopping by. I'll give 'In Cold Blood' a read as soon as my Great Library Challenge allows :)

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