Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review: Breakfast at Tiffany's and Other Voices, Other Rooms

I have had these two novellas on my TBR list forever—at least for 20 years. It was about 20 years ago that Nanci Griffith came out with the album "Other Voices, Other Rooms." On the cover photo, she is holding that book by Truman Capote, so I've always known I need to read it.

So when we were in Paris, we went to the famous Shakespeare and Company, and we each wanted to buy a special book there. I saw a beautiful hardback copy of these two Truman Capote novellas together, and I snatched it up. And I'm glad I did, although I can't say I love either one, as much as I wanted to.

Breakfast at Tiffany's: When I was a little girl, I played "Moon River"—from the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's— on the piano, and I've always meant to see the movie. I still haven't (I know, I know, and it's even on Netflix) but I will soon. The book was not was I expected. To be clear, Capote is a beautiful writer. There is no doubt about that. He is lyrical and lovely. But the novel itself... Somehow I just always see Audrey Hepburn and hear "Moon River," so I wasn't prepared for this very sad and disturbing story of Holly Golightly, a 19-year-old orphan-turned-society-girl who will do just about anything to climb higher up the social ladder. She wraps everyone around her little finger, completely disregarding their feelings, and then discards them when they are no longer useful. She's so often called "endearing" by critics for her eccentricity and flightiness, but I just found her to be selfish.

Other Voices, Other Rooms: One word—creepy. Joel is a 13-year-old boy who hasn't seen his father since he was an infant but must go live with him when his mother dies. Joel, a city boy, must adjust to a bizarre household in a rotting plantation manor that includes his stepmother, creepy cousin Randolph, and two servants, all wrapped up in secrets. This is southern Gothic for sure, and I never knew what weirdness was lurking around the corner. There was quite a bit of a freak show feel to the novel, with those kind of wonderful southern characters that are one step away from an asylum.

I'm glad I read these two short novels finally. I loved In Cold Blood, even though I know it's not "typical" of Capote's writings. I've also read several of his short stories and especially loved the collection The Grass Harp. Tiffany's and Other Voices are not among my favorites of Capote, but I'm still glad I read them.

1 comment:

Jennifer Hartling said...

I recently read Breakfast for the first time. I went in totally blind, having not seen the movie either. I was pleasantly surprised by it. I found Holly the same way. Bratty ;)