Set in Manhatten during the Second World War the unnamed writer meets the very young socialite Holly Golighlty when she forgets her key to the apartment complex they both occupy. Although they don’t meet properly until she enters through the fire escape (avoiding her gentleman caller who has a penchant to biting) he has been observing her from afar for quite some time.
So starts this platonic relationship that centres completely around Holly. Capote in a 1968 Playboy interview said of Holly...” she was not precisely a call girl. She had no job, but accompanied expense-account men to the best restaurants and night clubs, with the understanding that her escort was obligated to give her some sort of gift, perhaps jewelry or a check …if she felt like it, she might take her escort home for the night. So these girls are the authentic American geishas”.
It is Capote’s descriptions that linger long after the last sentence has been read. Those menagerie of men who attend her exclusive apartment parties; the weather updates Holly passes on from the incarcerated Sally Tomato; and that slim cool black dress, black sandals, and a pearl choker that brings clearly to mind Audrey Hepburn.
For it is hard to not think of Hepburn when reading this novella even though the film version alters so wildly from the book. Capote’s Holly is more complex, more vivacious while the unnamed narrator is a different character entirely in the movie.
Whether you love the movie or have never seen the movie you should read the book. It’s short enough to be devoured in a sitting and good enough to want to re read it straight away.
Oh and Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play Holly Golighty – sacrilegious.
Reviewed by Miss Moneypenny
Catalogue link: Breakfast at Tiffany's