My two centsI got a hold of Breakfast at Tiffany's and sped-read it, was utterly charmed by Miss Holiday Golightly, Traveling and kept imagining Audrey Hepburn and hearing Moon River. The icon created by Truman Capote has burned itself in my mind, quite unconsciously, and funnily I couldn't help but be pissed that the movie was not the book. (Honestly, I read the book AFTER the movie.)
Holly Golightly is a charmingly heartbreaking character - a street-smart, cynical, tougher-than-nails callgirl (though Capote never called her that ever in the book) who has a tender, childlike side. Deep inside she is only looking for her place in the world. "... home is where you feel at home. I'm still looking," she says. This theme resonates throughout the book, with the mini-story of her "adopted" cat as a metaphor possibly for herself?
Then I read through the three other short stories - "House of Flowers," "A Diamond Guitar" and "A Christmas Memory" - in the same book, and was blown away by Capote's writing. These stories are a far cry from Breakfast at Tiffany's. I especially enjoyed "A Christmas Memory" which tells a heartwarming story about a young boy's friendship with an old lady and how they lived and loved in the countryside.
I felt I understood Capote a little better after having watched Capote, an incredible film which is disturbing account of how he came to write In Cold Blood (a book I am on the lookout for now). Capote passes the book off as non-fiction, but it is based on real events of a brutal Kansas murder. The film explores how a writer can get deeply involved in creating a story ... to the point that it not only absorbs but can swallow you alive.
Capote is one of the most powerful writers I have read so far. And I will surely be reading more of work.