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Bel Canto

Bel Canto


Bel Canto

ratings:
4/5 (375 ratings)
Length:
404 pages
7 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 17, 2009
ISBN:
9780061738883
Format:
Book

Editor's Note

Lyrical & layered…

When a gala for the international elite devolves into a long-term hostage situation, unexpected intimacies flourish. This lyrical and layered novel is an astonishing study of human compassion. The film adaptation stars Julianne Moore and Christopher Lambert.

Description

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award • Winner of the Orange Prize • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

"Bel Canto is its own universe. A marvel of a book." —Washington Post Book World

New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett’s spellbinding novel about love and opera, and the unifying ways people learn to communicate across cultural barriers in times of crisis

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.

Patchett's lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 17, 2009
ISBN:
9780061738883
Format:
Book

About the author

ANN PATCHETT is the author of eight novels, four works of nonfiction, and two children's books. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner, the Women's Prize in the U.K., and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her most recent novel, The Dutch House, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. TIME magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books.



Reviews

What people think about Bel Canto

4.1
375 ratings / 250 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (3/5)
    An intriguing pairing - the world-class soprano, and the world-class industrialist. These two unique individuals are held hostage along with dozens of others, in Peru. I'm not sure what to make of the death of the brilliant Japanese executive, Mr. Hasokawa and the shifting of Roxane's attentions to Gen, Hasokawa's employee. Other characterizations are true-to-life, but I don't quite join other readers who praised "Bel Canto" to the skies. I can praise it, but not that highly.
  • (5/5)
    Loosely based on the 1996 attacks on the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru by the MRTA, Bel Canto bewitched me. Essentially set in 1 room - like an opera set - this "hostage taking gone wrong" effortlessly manages to keep your interest piqued through all if its 300-some pages.
  • (2/5)
    I did not love this book. I kept wanting to read it, but it left me disappointed in what I think could have been a great story.A load of distinguished party guests are taken hostage after the man they wanted to kidnap was found absent from the party he was supposed to be attending. We meet a handful of the guests, hear about their circumstances, their relationships and histories. We meet some of the hostage takers (terrorists), who get the same lightweight treatment as far as personal histories go. The large group are holed up in the vice-presidents mansion for months on end.The main, and only female, hostage is a famous opera singer who somehow manages to get her own bedroom and personal attendant for the duration of the "situation". She also has an array of drooling fans who have managed to fall in love with her. I didn't buy her allure.There seemed too many characters and not enough depth to any of them. The Generals seemed to have no power over anybody and were as confused as I became about why they were even there, and what they hoped to achieve
  • (4/5)
    So this was really, really good. Highly recommended and makes me want to read more Ann Patchett. Also, wherever I went, people seemed to comment on the book, mostly to tell me how much they loved it, but sometimes just to ask what I was reading (which I think means it must have an intriguing cover).

    I loved the characters and the uniqueness of the plot -- a long-term hostage situation with undercurrents of Stockholm Syndrome. I really felt like the world she created was easy for me to immerse myself in, and it was a very pleasant world; I enjoyed the time I spent there.

    The ending was abrupt, and while I fully understand the reasons for it being that way, it was a little unpleasant to be so suddenly and forcefully jolted out of the pleasant little world I'd been enjoying.
  • (5/5)
    A group of dignitaries are brought together in an unnamed South American country for a special occasion: a party at the Vice-President's mansion. Just at the end of the performance by world-renowned opera singer Roxane Coss, the lights go out, and a group of terrorists swarm through the building. They came to capture the President, but he is not at the party -- he stayed home to watch a special episode of his favorite soap opera. Instead, they take hostages -- first, all of the building's occupants, but eventually they let the workers and some of the guests go. The group of hostages that remains consists of 39 men and one woman: Roxane Coss. As negotiations drag on, the hostages and terrorists form an unexpected community. There are games of chess, fine French cooking, and opera -- sublime, intimate performances by the world's foremost lyric soprano. Despite the fear and discomfort, for some in the building, this is the best time of their lives. But it can't last forever...I loved everything about this book, right up until the epilogue, which I hated. I think that, if there had been a second book in between the last chapter and the epilogue, if I had been able to see how things developed, I could have appreciated it, but as it was, it just felt jarring and abrupt. However, the rest of the book is so good that I highly recommend it. I listened to the audiobook, and I highly recommend that format, as well: there are many hard-to-pronounce names, a sprinkling of Spanish words, and the narrator does an excellent job with all of the different voices and accents. I could hardly put it down, and found myself listening whenever I had a snippet of time.
  • (4/5)
    this is a great social experiment, though i wasn't wild about all the side romances that took place. the ending made me cry, and thats pretty hard to do (just in case you cared).