My favourite short novel, or at least the one that moved me most when I read it, was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The story is wonderful, and partly it was the contrast with the movie, which is a lot lighter and unlike the book, which ends unresolved, features a happy ending.
When I read the book, and for reasons I can’t quite explain, I thought that Holly was based on a real person, or was based on a sketch of a real person that the author might have known; Holly was drawn with love and tenderness and the sort of accuracy that only comes from some sort of reality. Then again, I think maybe all fictional characters are drawn from reality.
At the end of the movie, Holly and Paul, the narrator, find Holly’s cat, Cat, in the rainy streets of New York and everything ends happily. In the novel, Holly leaves forever and the (unnamed) narrator never finds Cat, though he thinks he might have seen it in a window of some brownstone apartment.
Truman Capote was homosexual and I always thought that the character of Holly was probably based on a boy or a young man he might have known. It doesn’t make the story better or worse for thinking that, but it does leave me with a real feeling of a shadow story going on in the background.
Whatever. Both endings make me cry. Every time.