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The well-known short novel, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and three of Truman Capote's most famous short stories make for a continually fresh and exciting look at how human beings successfully connect with one another. No matter how many times you read these stories, you will be moved by Mr. Capote's marvelous sense of and appreciation for the specialness of each life and the ways we belong to each other. Having not read Breakfast at Tiffany's for about 30 years, I came away much more impressed with the novel than I was the last time I read it. Perhaps you will have the same reaction upon rereading it as well. If you are reading it for the first time, you have a very nice surprise ahead of you!

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!
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am 28. Oktober 1999
I'm a grown man of thirty with a child on the way. But on reading 'A Christmas Memory', I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes. Especially when little Buddy is sent off to the military school and his friend is left alone to prepare the christmas cakes all by herself. No where in literature can you find the definition of nostalgic memories so beautifully crafted as in the last two pages of the story.
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.
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Holly Golightly bleibt eine der faszinierendsten Gestalten in der Literatur- und Filmgeschichte. Audrey Hepburn hat die wunderschöne und auf den ersten Blick selbstbewusste doch in Wahrheit tieftraurige und zerbrechliche junge Frau in das Gedächtnis einer ganzen Generation gebrannt. Capotes Buchvorlage steht dem Film jedoch in nichts nach sondern ist in vielen Belangen noch mitreißender als der Film. Das liegt vor allem an seinem Schreibstil, der einerseits glasklar und doch voll von ausgefallen Vergleichen und Metaphern. Am deutlichsten wird das in der anfänglichen Beschreibung der Protagonistin:

"It was a warm evening, nearly summer, and she wore a slim cool black dress, black sandals, a pearl choker. For all her chic thinness, she had an almost breakfast-cereal air of health, a soap and lemon cleanness, a rough pink darkening in the cheeks. her mouth was large, her nose upturned. A pair of dark glasses blotted out her eyes. It was a face beyond childhood, yet this side of belonging to a woman."

Aus der Sicht des Erzählers, ein Nachbar und erfolgloser Schriftsteller, erleben wir die zwei Seiten der Holly Golightly: Einerseits ein Partygirl und Schwarm aller Männer, die den körperlichen Wünschen ihrer Verehrer nur allzu gerne nachkommt; andererseits voller Einsamkeit durch die Straßen New Yorks wandernd und träumend vor den Fenstern von Tiffany stehend. "It's better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague. Just a country where the thunder goes and things disappear", sinniert sie traurig vor sich hin.

Ihr Wunsch nach Freiheit wird durch ihr Verhältnis zu ihrer Katze verdeutlicht. Vor der Polizei flüchtend entlässt sie ihren langjährigen Weggefährten gegen Ende der Erzählung in die Freiheit. In einer Herzzereissenden Szene im strömenden Regen in einer dunklen Gasse, muss Holly, tränenüberströmt ihren Freund mit Fußtritten und Steinwürfen davon überzeugen, es ihr gleichzutun und den Schritt in die Freiheit zu wagen.

Fazit: Schillernde Figur, fantastische Sprache. Ein kleines Meisterwerk.
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am 12. August 2010
Der Inhalt ist natürlich über jeden Zweifel erhaben. Aber diese "50th Anniversary Edition" ist von der Ausführung her eine Zumutung. Die Schrift ist so klein, dass man sie (und ich bin keine Brillenträgerin) schwer lesen kann. Das dunkle Papier erschwert das Lesen außerdem. Werde das Buch, das ich verschenken wollte, zurückgehen lassen.
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am 8. Mai 2000
"Breakfast at Tiffany's," by Truman Capote, is a story about a woman named Holly Golightly. Holly has a charming and witty personality that everyone adores. She constantly struggles with herself, trying to find her perfect place, like Tiffiany's, a jewelry store in New York, but there just isn't one. So, she keeps searching.
The characterization that Capote uses really makes the characters enjoyable to read about. How Holly reacts to the events in her life tells the story. This intense characterization of Holly, her moods and the way she behaves, makes the book easy, quick and enjoyable to read.
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am 30. März 2000
We've all seen the movie, but very few of us have read the book. I finally read it, and, boy, am I glad I did. It is so good.
People always say that the book is better than the movie--no matter what the book or movie is. I generally say that they are two different mediums and cannot be compared: apples and oranges.
In the case of BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S, the two (the book and the movie) are actually very close, but the book will give you insight that the movie won't. Read it. Enjoy it.
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am 27. August 2012
Eine schöne, schmale Taschenbuch-Ausgabe des Klassikers "Breakfast at Tiffanys" bestens geeignet für den Urlaub, den Zug usw. Man sieht Holy quasi vor sich und durchlebt mit ihr die Höhen und Tiefen des New Yorker (Nacht)Lebens.
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am 2. November 1998
When Truman Capote is at his best -- and he is definitely at his best in Breakfast at Tiffany's -- he is the equal of any American author of the 20th century. Capote paints with words the picture of an enduring time, place and person: mid-century, New York, the small town girl who seeks fame and fortune in the big city. This is a master artist at his finest.
For those who have seen it, the movie is a marvel, but it is constrained by the strictures of its time to be less than candid and less than faithful to the book. The book, while not as explicit or detailed as would be one written today, benefits from those restraints. We learn enough to appreciate Holly Golightly and the strange, wonderful and dangerous world in which she lived. We may know more -- about the author, to be sure -- but it isn't necessary to the book or the story. Its omission is actually helpful.
Breakfast at Tiffany's is like a radio drama of its era. Capote's skillful use of words allows our imagination to fill in the details. Read it and appreciate one of the greats.
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am 21. November 1998
Reading Breakfast a Tiffany's is both a burden and also a privilege. When ever I read a book and the charactres in it, I often times follows the person's action to understand what make this person tick, why does he do what he did, why not this but that. I been lucky at this task until this book. The main charactre, Holly Golightly is a true charactre, 'a real phony', a charactre superficially is calm and gay, but deep down inside is confussed and lonely. She is the kind of charactre that could make you happy when you are sad and make you angry when you are happy! The other charactre, a nameless write in the city of New York. Like me, he is also trying to understand the downstair friend. In my view, it was these charactres that made the book great, made the book touching, made the book a classic. When one read it, they will find out that they could not put the book down, and they will loathe Capote for not making the book longer.
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It's true, Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard are fabulous in the film. But the novel is a masterpiece. Capote writes an exquisite tale about the most endearing characters that I have ever met. Indeed, the novel reveals such a deep complexity in Holly's character, that I stop seeing Hepburn in the title role while reading the book. Instead, a new Holly emerged that is much more than the beautiful party girl that we know and love from the film. Her outward appearance of independence and vivaciousness conceals a deeply confused person with a troubled past that she is determined to defeat.
I must admit, I do prefer the Hollywood "happily ever after" ending. Still, the novel left me hoping that Holly would someday find that place that feels like home. A wonderful read that I highly recommend.
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