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.
©1950, 1951, 1956, 1958, 1978, 1979, 1984 Truman Capote. Copyright renewed 1986 by Alan U. Schwartz (P)2014 Audible Inc.
"[Michael C. Hall] uses his diligent attention to character to bring our unnamed narrator’s emotional vulnerability to the forefront of this American classic.... I felt content and comfortable in Hall’s hands as the tale unfolded. He did a wonderful job giving each character voice, especially that of Holly." (Caffeinated Book Reviewer)
People say I resemble my dog (and vice-versa). He can hear sounds I can't hear, but I'm the one who listens to audiobooks.
There is so much more going on here than the writing and characters crafted by Truman Capote over half a century ago, no matter how good all but one of those words were to Norman Mailer, that it is impossible for me to review Breakfast at Tiffany's in a vacuum, or to give it the rating I really wanted to give it (three stars -- it grows to four stars in my mind after listening to it, taking all of those ancillary issues into account).
There is first and foremost the movie, which I would hazard to guess is universally better known than the original novel. Capote may be an icon in his own right, but when you think about Holly Golightly, you think about Audrey Hepburn. And you think about a naive country girl caught up in the swirl of the big city, ultimately falling in love with her neighbor. None of which, it turns out, was part of Capote's conception.
The book is almost identical to the movie, with two notable exceptions (the wartime setting and the final scene), and yet the book is about a couple of things that are completely and radically different than the movie. I don't think I'd be giving anything away by revealing that Capote's Holly is a call girl and his narrator and alter-ego is gay, since that has been well documented and extensively analyzed. The movie, made during a buttoned-up Hollywood era, sanitized those elements.
Theoretically, that should make the book better than the movie -- the same story, but with more depth and richness, with a more complex sub-text. Especially when you consider that of the real life people who contributed to the character of Holly, the most prominent and important and interesting is Capote's mother, who was absent from his life for most of his childhood, having left the south for New York City.
But it is no accident that the movie beats out the book in pop culture consciousness by a ratio that probably approaches 99-1 percent. This short novel, despite all of the peripheral areas interest that have built up over time, just doesn't evoke the same level of enchantment and romance as the movie, at least not for me. And I'm no shrinking violet when it comes to the issues the book tackles that the movie shies away from.
I've been a big fan of Michael Hall going back to Six Feet Under, and Dexter of course. He does a great job as a celebrity narrator of a classic (his only other audiobook dates back to 2002, before anyone really knew him). Some of his voices didn't work for me, but that may just be me.
Two other side notes: I was floored to hear that Capote's first choice for Holly was Marilyn Monroe. I discovered that only after listening to the audiobook -- the physical description of Holly is so evocative of Audrey Hepburn that you would think he wrote the book with her in mind (actually, that would be after your initial impression that he was describing a boy rather than a girl, even though his real life models were certainly women).
The other note: If you're wondering about the reference to Norman Mailer, he once said that Capote's writing is so good that he wouldn't change two words. Which begs the question -- which one word would he have changed before not wanting to change the second word? Which also begs another question -- as much as I love audiobooks, would this have made more of an impression on me in print? I think not, because my issues are with the depth of the storytelling, not the writing or narration.
If I keep going, my review will be longer than the book, so I'll stop.
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
I don’t know what I expected from this book, but it was very different than I had imagined it to be. I’ve never seen the movie, so I went into the book knowing the bare bones from the description. It’s a good thing this was on sale or I may not have found myself hypnotized by the narration of Michael C. Hall or the literary genius of Truman Capote. Also, this book is so short that even if you dislike the book, not much time is wasted.
The narrator, Holly’s man neighbor who is a writer, finds himself in a sort of friendship with Holly (the main character). We get to see Holly’s life from the neighbor’s point of view and it is an interesting point of view. She is a socialite, a party girl and the neighbor hears the parties and even gets to attend one. For how young Holly is (18 or 19?), she seems to be very intelligent, albeit shallow, and this comes across in the way she speaks. At times I couldn’t quite picture a young girl like this coming across with so much wisdom at times, but it was easy for me to forgive Capote because the book was written so well. Holly also seems very lost and doesn’t seem to comprehend consequences at times and this was spot on for a girl her age. Holly thinks she knows how to find what she is looking for… thinks she knows how to find that place you call home. The narrator who is sometimes called “Fred” (even though that’s not his real name) is a likable personality and I cared about what happened to him, but mostly I cared about what happened to Holly. There were surprise twists to the story that added drama and I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything for other readers, but this classic is worth a listen in my opinion. I got lost in the story and narration. Michael C. Hall was just that good and I hope he narrates a few more books.
On a side note, I guess Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to be cast as Holly in the movie and I think maybe he was right. The persona of Marilyn seems to fit the character of Holly more than Audrey Hepburn.
Hall's voice is like the best silky chocolate I've ever tasted! His narration was perfect! He's character narration was awesome! I would buy anything he ever reads out loud!
The story line was surprisingly corky, and I found myself laughing throughout the whole book.
Hall's voice for his characters made the story come alive! I felt like I was watching the movie (even thou I've never seen the movie, but for sure will!) on an old school TV with my grandmas embroider placemat on top. He made me love fall in love with the characters!
Holly! She was wonderfully feminine and back country, strong, stylish, funny, honest, and fun! Can't wait to see the movie and see how Audrey Hepburn portraits Holly's character!
I'm glad I decided to get this!
Still has magic!
The unnamed narrator -- he was so unsparing of himself and, while he realized the flaws in Holly, his love for her was the glue that held the story together. His devotion even extended to her cat, knowing how upset she was after her final action toward the animal. His final "encounter" rounded out the story.
I liked everything about it save the way he did Holly's voice. For the most part I have found that the biggest problem in audio books is a male narrator doing a female voice, and the reverse. To paraphrase the movie "Victor-Victoria" it sounded like a man pretending to be a woman. To Hall's credit, the narrative was spot on with just the right touch of longing...there was an autumnal feeling about his narration that I didn't get in the movie version.
I would not rename it.
Very well done and can be listened to in one sitting -- in fact I recommend doing it that way so as not to jar the experience. One I will listen to again and again.
I have read the book before and love the story..... so I was excited when this became available. Michael C. Hall does an excellent job narrating! I have listened to it multiply times and still enjoy it.
The book is far ahead of the movie with Audrey Hepburn...Great character Holy Golightly...Great easy read...
Beyond Capote's light yet vivid scenes and characters, Hall's narration adds a sense of mystery and longing completely appropriate to the theme of the story.
The narrator's initial meeting with OJ Berman in Holly's living room is not what the listener expects and therefore very amusing and beautifully described.
I'm familiar with Mr. Hall's work on the TV show, Dexter, the primary reason I got this audio book. I've read the book at least twice before and was just curious to see what Hall would do with it. Breakfast at Tiffany's was in my view an unusual choice for Mr. Hall to read. Frankly I was blown away by it. I was aware of the charisma in Hall's voice from his TV work. Add to that Capote's exquisite description and characterizations and this was my treat for last week. I will listen to this again.
Never love a wild thing.
I hope Mr. Hall will have time in his schedule to read more books. Rest assured I'll be listening to them.
I loved Michael C. Hall's narration, he was perfect for this story. I really enjoy Truman Capote's writing style and perspective. I find myself identifying with all of the characters and can understand their point of view.
I found myself looking forward to the time when I could listen again.
I saw the movie first and now realize that Capote's story has so much more to offer than what's portrayed on screen. I always considered the movie to be a chick-flick, and I still do. The book however, is nothing of the sort. It's an absolutely terrific story, and the narration of Michael C. Hall is great.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
When a book has been made into an iconically famous film, and when that film is playing through your head as you listen to the book, your reactions to the book can be a bit confusing. On the one hand, the film got the story all Hollywooded up, fleshing out the narrator character to give him more to do, and adding some artificial sweetener to Holly to make her more palatable the audience. The callousness of the real Holly was a bit disconcerting with dear Audrey in my mind’s eye.
In spite of movie scenes floating through my head, I was able to appreciate the sharpness of Capote’s writing, and the enigma that is Holly Golightly who so carefully hides who she is, possibly even from herself. She expects to be taken care of but also to have things her own way, envisioning herself as a 'wild thing'. Without the Hollywood dressing Holly’s behavior is more consistent with her character, infusing the story with cynicism, poignancy and a sense of lonely inevitability. The outcome is a story much more organic than the film.
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