Thursday, October 16, 2014

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (audio)


Breakfast at Tiffany's
Written by: Truman Capote
Narrated by: Michael C. Hall
Length: 2 hrs and 52 mins
Publisher: Audible Studios, 2014
source: purchased

Publisher's Summary:
Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's provocative, naturalistic masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist, who eventually gets tossed away as her deepening character emerges.

Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote's most beloved work of fiction, introduced an independent and complex character who challenged audiences, revived Audrey Hepburn's flagging career in the 1961 film version, and whose name and style has remained in the national idiom since publication. Hall uses his diligent attention to character to bring our unnamed narrator’s emotional vulnerability to the forefront of this American classic.

My thoughts:

I am surely the only person on the planet who has never seen the 1961 film starring Audrey Hepburn. I do know that the plot differs significantly from the novella and have always thought I should read Capote's words first. Although I've had a beautiful hard cover Modern Library edition (purchased at Border's going out of business sale) on my shelf for years, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to grab the audio when it was offered as an audible daily deal.

I've read Capote before. In Cold Blood  was quite a page-turner and "A Christmas Memory" is one of my favorite short stories, but I felt distanced from this work right away. Maybe it was due to the narration, maybe that was Capote's intent. For whatever reason, it just didn't click. Written in 1958, it also struck me as dated.

As I listened, The Great Gatsby  frequently came to mind. The narrators of both novels are similar in quality and voice, and I liked them much more than the title characters. Holly could have been a female version of Gatsby himself.... not entirely what she seems, not necessarily totally above board.

A quick search of google revealed, as expected, that this was by no means an original thought. The similarity has been been duly noted in The Guardian, and my blogging friend Jane posted on this topic years ago. With these thoughts fresh in my mind, it must be time to reread  The Great Gatsby... yet again.

Strangely, I have nothing further to say about the narration of this audio production. It was fine... distancing as noted above, but otherwise unremarkable.

My rating:

24 comments:

  1. I haven't seen (or read) this either. It's funny -- given how much I love old movies, and even my name, Audrey Hepburn has never really clicked with me. Sorry it was disappointing!

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    1. Audrey - It definitely won't be on my list of favorites this year :(

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  2. After reading In Cold Blood, I wanted to read everything Capote wrote so I picked this up and was let down as well. The two didn't feel like they were written by the same person.

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    1. Kathy - I think you're right. This didn't seem like the Capote I'd read before.

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  3. You are not alone... I have not read the book or seen the movie. My book club just reviewed In Cold Blood on Tuesday for our Classic month. :)

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    1. Sheila - I'm surprised there are so many of us who haven't seen the movie!

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  4. I saw the movie first. It's very sad and a tad depressing because it has heavy themes and it took many years of viewing, I saw it young, to realize what was really going on, but when I read the book later, I was disappointed.

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    1. Ti - This book doesn't seem to be a favorite with anyone today.

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  5. I haven't seen the movie either so there are at least 2 of us (well 4 - I just read the other comments)! This is on my Classics Club list and I plan to read it soon. I just listened to The Great Gatsby so the comparison interests me. I'll definitely keep my expectations on the lower side. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Katherine - If nothing else, this book will prompt another reread of Gatsby,

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  6. I've never seen the movie either, and it sounds like I should just skip the story. I will keep In Cold Blood on my to-read list though.

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    1. Carol - In Cold Blood was much better, in my opinion.

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  7. I haven't seen the movie, either--looks like you are not the only person in the world to have missed it! I have read In Cold Blood, but it was just so-so for me--I didn't find it as compelling as so many others have.

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    1. Leila - I'm shocked by how many of us have not seen the movie... thought I was an oddity. Guess I've been hanging out with too many film buffs ;-)

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  8. Was Audrey Hepburn's career really flagging in 1961? That took me by surprise...but on to the book, thanks for the link to my post on the Tiffany/Gatsby connection. Apart from that, like you, I find I don't have much to say about Breakfast at Tiffanys, which I still find odd.

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    1. JaneGS - Guess I don't know enough about movies... the flagging career statement was a surprise to me, too. I figured if I noticed the similarity to Gatsby, it must be pretty well documented. That was really the only thing about the book I found interesting.

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  9. Liked the movie, but never read the book - I like the cover of that edition.

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    1. Diane - I think that's a great cover, too

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  10. I always think about reading this book or watching this movie. I did try watching it a few months back, but somehow I never keep getting pulled into this one. I need to give it a try sometime.

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    1. Athira - I wouldn't make it a top priority ;-)

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  11. Oh do watch the movie now! I adore it. Holly is definitely not above board but there is a tenderness and vulnerability to her in the movie that it sounds like wasn't in the book.

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    1. Lisa - I will! My daughter's friend is appalled that I haven't watched it yet... it's her favorite movie.

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  12. You must see the movie!! It's one of my all-time faves:) And it barely resembles Capote's work.

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    1. Stacy - That the book and movie are entirely different is about the only thing I knew before reading the book. I'll definitely watch the movie soon!

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