Classics Club #8: Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany‘s is the first book on my Classics Club list that has disappointed me. I can’t even say it’s bad because this short novel is too trivial and meaningless to rise to the level of badness. I have absolutely no idea what possessed the author to explore one of the most tired old plots in the history of humanity as late as 1958. Novels narrated by males who are puzzled and attracted / repulsed by a prostitute abound. What is the point of writing yet another one if you can;t contribute anything new to the subject?
I understand, of course, that nobody is likely to invent a new plot these days. But you have got to bring something new even to the most exploited old theme. Capote doesn’t manage to do that, however. He rewrites Abbé Prévost, Kuprin, Zola et al. but his incapacity to rise to their level either artistically or ideologically makes Breakfast at Tiffany‘s nothing but a sad, pale parody.
The book I purchased also contained three short stories, so I decided to read them in order to give Capote a chance to redeem himself in my eyes. And what do you think? The very first story yet again discussed female prostitution in the same saccharine, cloying way as the short novel. I don’t know what made Capote, a gay man, so obsessed with female prostitution but this fixation definitely detracts from the quality of his writing.
If you read the novel and liked it, do share what it is that you enjoyed about it.