Breakfast At Tiffany's

by Truman Capote

"Miss Holly Golightly, traveling." The card on the brownstone mailbox marking Apt 2 is deceptive and telling. Holly is not "Miss." she is "Mrs." But she does "go lightly," too lightly it seems. Holly's days are a constant traverse, a search for permanence forever out of reach, a depth beyond her capacity to dive. She is a Woolworth's girl longing for a Tiffany's experience.

Breakfast at Tiffany's is the 1958 novella by Truman Capote (1924-1984). Early in the story, Fred (unnamed, but so named by Holly) encounters Joe Bell, a bar patron who also knows Holly, to whom their conversation turns. Joe Bell says:

Sure I loved her, but it wasn't that I wanted to touch her . . . . And I swear it never crossed my mind about Holly. You can love somebody without it being like that. You keep them a stranger, a stranger who's a friend."

A friendly stranger, that is Holly Golightly. Always close enough for familiarity, always too distant for depth. 

Was this Capote's observation about the age?

Breakfast at Tiffany's deserves a second or third read. It is intricately layered. There is complexity inside the simplicity of this woman. At one point Holly and Fred discuss "the mean reds," Holly's way of describing angst. "But what do you do about it?" she asks? 

What I've found does the most good is just to get into a taxi and go to Tiffany's. It calms me down right away, the quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad can happen to you there, not with those kind men in their nice suits. And that lovely smell of silver and alligator wallets. If I could find a real life place that made me feel like Tiffany's, then I'd buy some furniture and give the cat a name.

Sadly, Holly -- and so many of her kin -- fail to find the place like Tiffany's. Tessa, a reviewer at Condofire, said this, which I find quite agreeable:

Her invented self is so large that the distance between it and reality is far enough that you fear that she’ll never find that centre that everyone needs to understand where they belong.

I think Holly is looking for the church, the real church. I think many people are.