In this seductive, wistful masterpiece, Truman Capote created a woman whose name has entered the American idiom and whose style is a part of the literary. Truman Capote's novella Breakfast at Tiffany's in. Prompted by a conversation with the owner of a bar in his old neighbourhood, the narrator tells the story. Author: Capote Truman Capote, Truman - Breakfast at Tiffany's. Read more Breakfast at Tiffany's (50th Anniversary ed). Read more.
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Breakfast at Tiffany's. Truman Capote, I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods. For instance, there is a. Breakfast at Tiffany's Truman Capote, I am always drawn back to places .. For all her chic thinness, she had an almost breakfast-cereal air of health. Holly Golightly is an unbelievable young woman. Despite of a quite young age she can charm almost everyone who spoke to her. underclothes, windowed, skinned, boathouse, fatherly, stork, unsigned, mag, mailman, trawler, smartly, housework, raincoat, shyly, lawful, playfully, lying.
Reading dreams. Holly was not a girl who could keep anything, and surely by now she has lost that medal, left it in a suitcase or some hotel drawer. We left together and walked over to Park Avenue. Tomorrow is Thursday. Their hair, newly washed, hung lankly.
Capote rose to… More about Truman Capote. He writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you purchase this book from your favorite retailer.
Literary Fiction Category: Literary Fiction. Paperback —. Buy the Ebook: Add to Cart. Also in Vintage International. One of his nurses, anyway. The phone rings. I say get your ass on a plane and get back here, she says I don't want it. I say what's your angle, doll? She says you got to want it to be good and I don't want it, I say well, what the hell do you want, and she says when I find out you'll be the first to know. See what I mean: He lifted the cat on the toe of his shoe and gave him a toss, which was hateful of him except he seemed not aware of the cat but merely his own irritableness.
Living off tips. Running around with bums. So maybe she could marry Rusty Trawler? You should pin a medal on her for that? Bad deal," he said, his tongue clucking in his huge head.
Could level with the kid before it's too late. Like I told you," he said, and now it sounded true, "I sincerely like the kid. That you're nuts. You're such a slob. You always nigger-lip. He perched there with the balance of a bird, his paws tangled in her hair as if it were knitting yarn; and yet, despite these amiable antics, it was a grim cat with a pirate's cutthroat face; one eye was gluey-blind, the other sparkled with dark deeds.
What's David O. Selznick's number, O. I want you to call him up and tell him what a genius Fred is. He's written barrels of the most marvelous stories. Well, don't blush, Fred: Come on, O.
What are you going to do to make Fred rich? Another thing: And if anybody knocks, let them in. Within the next quarter-hour a stag party had taken over the apartment, several of them in uniform. I counted two Naval officers and an Air Force colonel; but they were outnumbered by graying arrivals beyond draft status. Except for a lack of youth, the guests had no common theme, they seemed strangers among strangers; indeed, each face, on entering, had struggled to conceal dismay at seeing others there.
It was as if the hostess had distributed her invitations while zigzagging through various bars; which was probably the case. After the initial frowns, however, they mixed without grumbling, especially O. Berman, who avidly exploited the new company to avoid discussing my Hollywood future. I was left abandoned by the bookshelves; of the books there, more than half were about horses, the rest baseball. Pretending an interest in Horseflesh and How to Tell It gave me sufficiently private opportunity for sizing Holly's friends.
Presently one of these became prominent. He was a middle-aged child that had never shed its baby fat, though some gifted tailor had almost succeeded in camouflaging his plump and spankable bottom. There wasn't a suspicion of bone in his body; his face, a zero filled in with pretty miniature features, had an unused, a virginal quality: But it was not appearance that singled him out; preserved infants aren't all that rare.
It was, rather, his conduct; for he was behaving as though the party were his: In fairness, most of his activities were dictated by the hostess herself: Rusty, would you mind; Rusty, would you please.
If he was in love with her, then clearly he had his jealousy in check. A jealous man might have lost control, watching her as she skimmed around the room, carrying her cat in one hand but leaving the other free to straighten a tie or remove lapel lint; the Air Force colonel wore a medal that came in for quite a polish.
The man's name was Rutherfurd "Rusty" Trawler. In he'd lost both his parents, his father the victim of an anarchist and his mother of shock, which double misfortune had made Rusty an orphan, a millionaire, and a celebrity, all at the age of five.
He'd been a stand-by of the Sunday supplements ever since, a consequence that had gathered hurricane momentum when, still a schoolboy, he had caused his godfather-custodian to be arrested on charges of sodomy. After that, marriage and divorce sustained his place in the tabloid-sun.
His first wife had taken herself, and her alimony, to a rival of Father Divine's. The second wife seems unaccounted for, but the third had sued him in New York State with a full satchel of the kind of testimony that entails.
He himself divorced the last Mrs. Trawler, his principal complaint stating that she'd started a mutiny aboard his yacht, said mutiny resulting in his being deposited on the Dry Tortugas. Though he'd been a bachelor since, apparently before the war he'd proposed to Unity Mitford, at least he was supposed to have sent her a cable offering to marry her if Hitler didn't. This was said to be the reason Winchell always referred to him as a Nazi; that, and the fact that he attended rallies in Yorkville.
I was not told these things. I read them in The Baseball Guide , another selection off Holly's shelf which she seemed to use for a scrapbook. Tucked between the pages were Sunday features, together with scissored snippings from gossip columns. Holly came up from behind, and caught me reading: I said, "What was this week's weather report? There're so few things men can talk about. If a man doesn't like baseball, then he must like horses, and if he doesn't like either of them, well, I'm in trouble anyway: And how are you making out with O.
But what have I to offer that would strike him as an opportunity? He really can help you, Fred. Not because they would have given me the part or because I would have been good: If I do feel guilty, I guess it's because I let him go on dreaming when I wasn't dreaming a bit. I was just vamping for time to make a few self-improvements: I knew damn well I'd never be a movie star. It's too hard; and if you're intelligent, it's too embarrassing. My complexes aren't inferior enough: I don't mean I'd mind being rich and famous.
That's very much on my schedule, and someday I'll try to get around to it; but if it happens, I'd like to have my ego tagging along. I want to still be me when I wake up one fine morning and have breakfast at Tiffany's.
You need a glass," she said, noticing my empty hands. Will you bring my friend a drink? It's a little inconvenient, his not having a name.
But I haven't any right to give him one: We just sort of took up by the river one day, we don't belong to each other: I don't want to own anything until I know I've found the place where me and things belong together. I'm not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it's like. Diamonds, yes. But it's tacky to wear diamonds before you're forty; and even that's risky. They only look right on the really old girls.
Maria Ouspenskaya. Wrinkles and bones, white hair and diamonds: I can't wait. But that's not why I'm mad about Tiffany's.
You know those days when you've got the mean reds? You're sad, that's all. But the mean reds are horrible. You're afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don't know what you're afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don't know what it is. You've had that feeling? Some people call it angst. But what do you do about it? I've tried aspirin, too.
Rusty thinks I should smoke marijuana, and I did for a while, but it only makes me giggle. What I've found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany's. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits, and that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets.
If I could find a real-life place that made me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name. I've thought maybe after the war, Fred and I — " She pushed up her dark glasses, and her eyes, the differing colors of them, the grays and wisps of blue and green, had taken on a far-seeing sharpness. It's wonderful country for raising horses. I saw one place near the sea.
Fred's good with horses. You know what the doctor said. I know what the doctor said. Let's go. Still he continued, as though it were a ritual: And when I'm ready, we'll go eat wherever you want.
Besides, he had a stinking childhood. Can't you see it's just that Rusty feels safer in diapers than he would in a skirt? Which is really the choice, only he's awfully touchy about it. He tried to stab me with a butter knife because I told him to grow up and face the issue, settle down and play house with a nice fatherly truck driver. Meantime, I've got him on my hands; which is okay, he's harmless, he thinks girls are dolls, literally.
Even land in Mexico costs something. Now," she said, motioning me forward, "let's get hold of O. Then I remembered: Just provocative. So I told them to put Traveling. Anyway, it was a waste of money, ordering those cards.
Except I felt I owed it to them to buy some little some thing. They're from Tiffany's. You're going to make friends with O. It was a young woman, and she entered like a wind-rush, a squall of scarves and jangling gold. Hogging all these simply r-r-riveting m-m-men! They straightened their spines, sucked in their stomachs; there was a general contest to match her swaying height. Holly said, "What are you doing here? I've been upstairs working with Yunioshi. Christmas stuff for the Ba-ba-zaar.
But you sound vexed, sugar? He squeezed her arm, as though to admire her muscle, and asked her if she could use a drink. I'm happy with ammonia.
Holly, honey," she said, slightly shoving her, "don't you bother about me. I can introduce myself. Berman, who, like many short men in the presence of tall women, had an aspiring mist in his eye.
That's hill country. He lost her to a quadrille of partners who gobbled up her stammered jokes like popcorn tossed to pigeons. It was a comprehensible success. She was a triumph over ugliness, so often more beguiling than real beauty, if only because it contains paradox. In this case, as opposed to the scrupulous method of plain good taste and scientific grooming, the trick had been worked by exaggerating defects; she'd made them ornamental by admitting them boldly.
Heels that emphasized her height, so steep her ankles trembled; a flat tight bodice that indicated she could go to a beach in bathing trunks; hair that was pulled straight back, accentuating the spareness, the starvation of her fashion-model face.
Even the stutter, certainly genuine but still a bit laid on, had been turned to advantage. It was the master stroke, that stutter; for it contrived to make her banalities sound somehow original, and secondly, despite her tallness, her assurance, it served to inspire in male listeners a protective feeling. To illustrate: Berman had to be pounded on the back because she said, "Who can tell me w-w-where is the j-j-john? She's been here before. She knows where it is.
You'd think it would show more. But heaven knows, she looks healthy. So, well, clean. That's the extraordinary part. Wouldn't you," she asked with concern, but of no one in particular, "wouldn't you say she looked clean? A Naval officer, who had been holding Mag Wildwood's drink, put it down. Mag Wildwood couldn't understand it, the abrupt absence of warmth on her return; the conversations she began behaved like green logs, they fumed but would not fire.
More unforgivably, people were leaving without taking her telephone number. The Air Force colonel decamped while her back was turned, and this was the straw too much: Suddenly she was blind. And since gin to artifice bears the same relation as tears to mascara, her attractions at once dissembled. She took it out on everyone. She called her hostess a Hollywood degenerate. She invited a man in his fifties to fight.
She told Berman, Hitler was right. She exhilarated Rusty Trawler by stiff-arming him into a comer. Get up from there," Holly said, stretching on a pair of gloves. The remnants of the party were waiting at the door, and when the bore didn't budge Holly cast me an apologetic glance. Put her in a taxi. She lives at the Winslow. Live Barbizon. Regent Ask for Mag Wildwood. The prospect of steering an Amazon into a taxi obliterated whatever resentment I felt.
But she solved the problem herself. Rising on her own steam, she stared down at me with a lurching loftiness.
She said, "Let's go Stork. Catch lucky balloon," and fell full-length like an axed oak. My first thought was to run for a doctor. But examination proved her pulse fine and her breathing regular.
She was simply asleep. After finding a pillow for her head, I left her to enjoy it. The following afternoon I collided with Holly on the stairs. A hang-over out to here. And the mean reds on top of it. Over the weekend, mystery deepened. First, there was the Latin who came to my door: It took a while to correct his error, our accents seemed mutually incoherent, but by the time we had I was charmed. He'd been put together with care, his brown head and bullfighter's figure had an exactness, a perfection, like an apple, an orange, something nature has made just right.
Added to this, as decoration, were an English suit and a brisk cologne and, what is still more unlatin, a bashful manner. The second event of the day involved him again. It was toward evening, and I saw him on my way out to dinner. He was arriving in a taxi; the driver helped him totter into the house with a load of suitcases. That gave me something to chew on: Then the picture became both darker and clearer.
Sunday was an Indian summer day, the sun was strong, my window was open, and I heard voices on the fire escape. Holly and Mag were sprawled there on a blanket, the cat between them. Their hair, newly washed, hung lankly. They were busy. Holly varnishing her toenails, Mag knitting on a sweater.
Mag was speaking. At least there's one thing you can say for Rusty. He's an American. There's a war on. I'm p-p-proud of my country. The men in my family were great soldiers. There's a statue of Papadaddy Wildwood smack in the center of Wildwood. Could be. They say the more stupid you are the braver. He's pretty stupid. I didn't realize he was a soldier. But he does look stupid. Not stupid. He wants awfully to be on the inside staring out: Anyhow, he's a different Fred. Fred's my brother.
A boy that's fighting for you and me and all of us. I appreciate a joke, but underneath I'm a s-s-serious person. Proud to be an American. And being a B-b-brazilian myself. It's such a canyon to cross. Six thousand miles, and not knowing the language — " "Go to Berlitz. It isn't as though anyone spoke it.
It's such a useless thing for a man to want to be: You saw us together. Do you think I'm madly in love? Does he bite? In bed. Should he? That's the right spirit. I like a man who sees the humor; most of them, they're all pant and puff. I suppose. He doesn't bite. He laughs. What else? And it isn't that I don't want to tell you. But it's so difficult to remember. I don't d-d-dwell on these things.
The way you seem to. They go out of my head like a dream. I'm sure that's the n-n-normal attitude. If you can't remember, try leaving the lights on. I'm a very- very-very conventional person. What's wrong with a decent look at a guy you like?
Does that answer your question? Because I'm not a cold plate of m-m-macaroni. I'm a warm-hearted person. It's the basis of my character. You've got a warm heart. But if I were a man on my way to bed. I'd rather take along a hot-water bottle. It's more tangible. Do you realize I've knitted ten pairs of Argyles in less than three months? And this is the second sweater. Sweaters in Brazil. I ought to be making s-s-sun helmets. Actually, I'd like that. Miss Golightly and Miss Wildwood were now traveling together.
This might have held my interest longer except for a letter in my own mailbox. It was from a small university review to whom I'd sent a story. They liked it; and, though I must understand they could not afford to pay, they intended to publish. Dizzy with excitement is no mere phrase.
I had to tell someone: I didn't trust my voice to tell the news; as soon as she came to the door, her eyes squinty with sleep, I thrust the letter at her. It seemed as though she'd had time to read sixty pages before she handed it back. Perhaps my face explained she'd misconstrued, that I'd not wanted advice but congratulations: It's wonderful.
Well, come in," she said. I'll get dressed and take you to lunch.
In the parlor there was no conventional furniture, but the bedroom had the bed itself, a double one at that, and quite flashy: She left the door of the bathroom open, and conversed from there; between the flushing and the brushing, most of what she said was unintelligible, but the gist of it was: One could see that Holly had a laundry problem; the room was strewn, like a girl's gymnasium.
But a good thing," she said, hobbling out of the bathroom as she adjusted a garter. And there shouldn't be too much trouble on the man front. She's engaged.
Nice guy, too. Though there's a tiny difference in height: I'd say a foot, her favor.
Where the hell — " She was on her knees poking under the bed. After she'd found what she was looking for, a pair of lizard shoes, she had to search for a blouse, a belt, and it was a subject to ponder, how, from such wreckage, she evolved the eventual effect: She said, "Listen," and cupped her hand under my chin, "I'm glad about the story.
Really I am. A beautiful day with the buoyancy of a bird. To start, we had Manhattans at Joe Bell's; and, when he heard of my good luck, champagne cocktails on the house. Later, we wandered toward Fifth Avenue, where there was a parade. The flags in the wind, the thump of military bands and military feet, seemed to have nothing to do with war, but to be, rather, a fanfare arranged in my personal honor.
We ate lunch at the cafeteria in the park. Afterwards, avoiding the zoo Holly said she couldn't bear to see anything in a cage , we giggled, ran, sang along the paths toward the old wooden boathouse, now gone.
Leaves floated on the lake; on the shore, a park-man was fanning a bonfire of them, and the smoke, rising like Indian signals, was the only smudge on the quivering air. Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring; which is how I felt sitting with Holly on the railings of the boathouse porch.
I thought of the future, and spoke of the past. Because Holly wanted to know about my childhood. She talked of her own, too; but it was elusive, nameless, placeless, an impressionistic recital, though the impression received was contrary to what one expected, for she gave an almost voluptuous account of swimming and summer, Christmas trees, pretty cousins and parties: Or, I asked, wasn't it true that she'd been out on her own since she was fourteen?
She rubbed her nose. The other isn't. But really, darling, you made such a tragedy out of your childhood I didn't feel I should compete. I ought to send Fred some peanut butter. It was near the antique shop with the palace of a bird cage in its window, so I took her there to see it, and she enjoyed the point, its fantasy: Don't be chicken.
The saleslady was occupied with a group of nuns who were trying on masks. Holly picked up a mask and slipped it over her face; she chose another and put it on mine; then she took my hand and we walked away.
It was as simple as that. Outside, we ran a few blocks, I think to make it more dramatic; but also because, as I'd discovered, successful theft exhilarates. I wondered if she'd often stolen. If I wanted anything. But I still do it every now and then, sort of to keep my hand in. I have a memory of spending many hither and yonning days with Holly; and it's true, we did at odd moments see a great deal of each other; but on the whole, the memory is false.
Because toward the end of the month I found a job: The less the better, except to say it was necessary and lasted from nine to five. Which made our hours, Holly's and mine, extremely different. Unless it was Thursday, her Sing Sing day, or unless she'd gone horseback riding in the park, as she did occasionally, Holly was hardly up when I came home. Sometimes, stopping there, I shared her wake-up coffee while she dressed for the evening. As a quartet, they struck an unmusical note, primarily the fault of Ybarra-Jaegar, who seemed as out of place in their company as a violin in a jazz band.
He was intelligent, he was presentable, he appeared to have a serious link with his work, which was obscurely governmental, vaguely important, and took him to Washington several days a week. How, then, could he survive night after night in La Rue, El Morocco, listening to the Wildwood ch-ch-chatter and staring into Rusty's raw baby-buttocks face? Perhaps, like most of us in a foreign country, he was incapable of placing people, selecting a frame for their picture, as he would at home; therefore all Americans had to be judged in a pretty equal light, and on this basis his companions appeared to be tolerable examples of local color and national character.
That would explain much; Holly's determination explains the rest. Late one afternoon, while waiting for a Fifth Avenue bus, I noticed a taxi stop across the street to let out a girl who ran up the steps of the Forty-second Street public library. She was through the doors before I recognized her, which was pardonable, for Holly and libraries were not an easy association to make. I let curiosity guide me between the lions, debating on the way whether I should admit following her or pretend coincidence.
In the end I did neither, but concealed myself some tables away from her in the general reading room, where she sat behind her dark glasses and a fortress of literature she'd gathered at the desk. She sped from one book to the next, intermittently lingering on a page, always with a frown, as if it were printed upside down.
She had a pencil poised above paper — nothing seemed to catch her fancy, still now and then, as though for the hell of it, she made laborious scribblings. Watching her, I remembered a girl I'd known in school, a grind, Mildred Grossman. Earth and air could not be more opposite than Mildred and Holly, yet in my head they acquired a Siamese twinship, and the thread of thought that had sewn them together ran like this: All right, here were two people who never would.
That is what Mildred Grossman had in common with Holly Golightly. They would never change because they'd been given their character too soon; which, like sudden riches, leads to a lack of proportion: I imagined them in a restaurant of the future, Mildred still studying the menu for its nutritional values, Holly still gluttonous for everything on it.
It would never be different. They would walk through life and out of it with the same determined step that took small notice of those cliffs at the left. Such profound observations made me forget where I was; I came to, startled to find myself in the gloom of the library, and surprised all over again to see Holly there.
It was after seven, she was freshening her lipstick and perking up her appearance from what she deemed correct for a library to what, by adding a bit of scarf, some earrings, she considered suitable for the Colony. When she'd left, I wandered over to the table where her books remained; they were what I had wanted to see.
In autumn , the unnamed narrator befriends Holly Golightly. The two are tenants in a brownstone apartment in Manhattan 's Upper East Side. As such, she has no job and lives by socializing with wealthy men, who take her to clubs and restaurants, and give her money and expensive presents; she hopes to marry one of them.
According to Capote, Golightly is not a prostitute but an "American geisha ". Holly likes to shock people with carefully selected tidbits from her personal life or her outspoken viewpoints on various topics.
Over the course of a year, she slowly reveals herself to the narrator, who finds himself quite fascinated by her curious lifestyle. He apparently based the character of Holly on several different women, all friends or close acquaintances of his. Capote's biographer Gerald Clarke wrote "half the women he knew According to the biographer of Joan McCracken , McCracken had a violent dressing room outburst after learning of the wartime death of her brother, while she was appearing in the Bloomer Girl McCracken's biographer suggests that Capote was inspired by this event as a model for a scene in which Holly reacts to her brother's death overseas.
In the novella, Holly Golightly is also depicted singing songs from Oklahoma! It was to be illustrated with a big series of photo montages by David Attie , who had been hired for the job by famed Harper's art director Alexey Brodovitch. However, after the publication was scheduled, longtime Harper ' s editor Carmel Snow was ousted by the magazine's publisher, the Hearst Corporation, and Hearst executives began asking for changes to the novella's tart language.
By this time, Attie's montages had been completed, and Alice Morris, the fiction editor of Harper's , recounted that while Capote initially refused to make any changes, he relented "partly because I showed him the layouts Its language and subject matter were still deemed "not suitable", and there was concern that Tiffany's, a major advertiser, would react negatively.
Shortly afterward, a collection of the novella and three short stories by Capote was published by Random House —and the glowing reviews caused sales of the Esquire issue to skyrocket. A Personal Memoir ,  and Brodovitch on Observations , both published in The collection has been reprinted several times; the novella has been included in other Capote collections.
Capote's original typed manuscript was offered for sale by a New Hampshire auction house in April Sosin said he planned to display it publicly in Moscow and Monte Carlo. She observes that both characters are "unattached, unconventional wanderers, dreamers in pursuit of some ideal of happiness.
Capote himself acknowledged that Golightly was the favorite of his characters. The novella's prose style prompted Norman Mailer to call Capote "the most perfect writer of my generation," adding that he "would not have changed two words in Breakfast at Tiffany's ".
The novella was loosely adapted into the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's starring Audrey Hepburn and directed by Blake Edwards. The movie was transposed to rather than the s, the period of the novella.
In addition to this, at the end of the film the protagonist and Holly fall in love and stay together, whereas in the novella there is no love affair whatsoever—Holly just leaves the United States and the narrator has no idea what happened to her since then, except for a photograph of a wood carving found years later in Africa which bears a striking resemblance to Holly. In addition, there are many other changes, including major omissions, to the plot and main character in the film from the novella.
Capote originally envisioned Marilyn Monroe as Holly, and lobbied the studio for her, but the film was done at Paramount , and though Monroe did independent films, including for her own production company, she was still under contract with Twentieth Century Fox , and had just completed Let's Make Love with Yves Montand.
A musical version of Breakfast at Tiffany's also known as Holly Golightly premiered in in Boston. Kruschen's role was based on Joe Bell, a major character in Capote's novella who was omitted from the film version.