I am ashamed to confess: I have never read this story. I saw the film, of course. But I never read the book. It is universally regarded as a great story and, when I saw it in my local library, I had to take it out.
Yes. It is a wonderful story. Here are some things that surprised me and some things that delighted me, in no particular order:
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s is not a novel. It’s a long short story – a novella.
- The story is beautifully told.
- The character of Holly Golightly is complex and brilliantly drawn.
- There are twists and turns to the plot that I hadn’t anticipated and couldn’t remember from the film.
- Every twist or revelation seems entirely predictable and expected – but in retrospect, of course. This is one of the prime tests of a good story.
- Although you could call this is a romance, it is certainly not a conventional romance.
- The ending is ambivalent and the story continues, somewhere….
- Although the cover of my book shows Audrey Hepburn possibly having breakfast in a place that might be Tiffany’s, that particular event never really happens.
The other stories in this collection are:
- House of Flowers (a tale of love),
- Diamond Guitar (a tale of friendship set in a prison) and
- A Christmas Memory (another tale of love and friendship across the generation gap).
These stories are much shorter than Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but each one is bittersweet and finely crafted. Here is another marker of a good story: they linger, hauntingly, long after I close the book.