This book consists of the title story, as well as three other short stories by Truman Capote.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A much darker portrayal of Miss Holly Golightly’s (not her real name) self-destruction than that of the movie by the same name. This is the story that prompted Norman Mailer to call Capote “the most perfect writer of my generation.”
Although I’m certain this was far from being Capote’s intent in writing this, I couldn’t help as I read to think of this story as an analogy of how the church sometimes relates to the world. The story is told from the perspective of “Fred” (not his real name, but the name Holly gives him), a neighbor and “friend” of Holly. Fred watches Holly bounce from one destructive relationship, one lie, one drunken bender, one scandal…etc, – to another. He legitimately cares about Holly and wants to help her but his fascination with her reckless behavior and glamorous lifestyle cripples him from speaking truth into her life in any meaningful way. How often have believers (myself definitely included) as individuals as well as the Church on the whole been self-sabotaged in bringing life giving Truth to unbelievers simply because we have been so enamored of and entertained by their “fun” or “crazy” or even tragic sinful lifestyle? In other words – when you see Charlie Sheen, or Lindsay Lohan, or the celebrity of the week or the office stud or (fill in the blank) self destructing are you entertained by his sinful insanity or does your heart break for his soul?
House of Flowers: This was my favorite piece in this collection. It is the story of Ottilie, a beautiful runaway orphan who has become one of the most “successful” prostitutes in Port-au-Prince. Although she has many foreign suitors eager to give her anything money could buy, she falls in love with a simple, yet bold farmboy from the mountains of Haiti. This farmboy is not a customer but sees her at a chicken fighting tournament and instantly knows that he has found his future wife. Ottilie follows her new husband back to his village and finds it to be a place full of trial and danger – the monotony of being a housewife, an evil grandmother in law who literally tries to kill her, and a superstitious and repressive village culture. The story culminates when Ottilie’s prostitute friends travel to the village to try and “rescue” her from her “mistake” and Ottilie is forced to choose between the alluring life of being an adored “star” prostitute or to remain in a trying and somewhat abusive place- but a place in which she can be with the man she loves and has committed to.
A Diamond Guitar: A great, Shawshank Redemption -esque short story
A Christmas Memory: Although this has been called “one of the most moving stories in our language” by the Saturday Review and others, I wouldn’t go nearly that far. That said, it is a warm story of two best friends – a young boy and an elderly woman – who find solace from the dull pains of orphanhood and growing old in each other. It really has nothing to do with Christmas.
Perhaps most enjoyable was Capote’s writing style. The ability to communicate ideas and emotions through words is a gift of God.