Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote The theme that unites Breakfast at Tiffany's with the three much shorter stories in this volume is the powerful bond of friendship between unexpected people or in unusual circumstances.

The title story is a male fantasy, told in such a visual way, that I'm not surprised it was turned into a film (which I have never seen).

The story is of course about that neighbour, Holly Golightly, a charming but utterly self-absorbed, mysterious fantasist, full of intriguing contradictions. She has big ambitions and none at all, but she does want the security of having breakfast at Tiffany's. She is often flirtatious, but at other times she plays the total innocent (e.g. getting her neighbour to put sun oil on her). At times she is oblivious to what people around her know and think, but at others, she is remarkably perspicacious about the personality and motives of those around her. Knowing more about Holly only makes one realise how unknowable she is. When talking about her childhood, "it was elusive, nameless, placeless, an impressionistic recital".

At times, the narrator acts like a stalker of his attractive and enigmatic neighbour (examining her rubbish and investigating what she read at the library), yet he didn't alienate me. Perhaps one reason is the way that Holly uses men. As the men are happy to be used by her, where's the harm?

Quirky quote: "a group of nuns who were trying on masks" (in a department store).
Quirky "fact": Holly has a problem with Thursdays, much like Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!


The other, shorter stories are:

House of Flowers
This starts in a brothel in Port au Prince and the dialogue did not ring at all true to me (but I'm hardly an expert on Haitian prostitutes). It explores the friendship between the working girls and how love is hard to discern in such an environment. What is love like? "You feel as though pepper had been sprinkled on your heart, as though tiny fish are swimming in your veins".

A Diamond Guitar
About friendship in prison and the effect of long-term incarceration on the psyche.

A Christmas Memory
A beautiful story of the self-made traditions that form a loving bond between a young boy and his elderly relative.

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China MiƩville, Mervyn Peake
Gormenghast
Mervyn Peake