Bel Canto

Book: Bel Canto

Author: Ann Patchett

Short Summary:
In a country in South America, the name of which is never disclosed, a birthday party is being held for an important Japanese business man at the home of the Vice President. Many important people from all around the world are in attendance, including the opera star, Roxane Coss who is to be the evening’s entertainment. The night does not go as planned when terrorists suddenly appear to take everyone at the party hostage. From there, unusual and unlikely bonds are formed while everyone deals with the situation.

My Thoughts:
I admired the writing style in this book. I loved the way Patchett transitioned seamlessly from one ‘s character’s inner thoughts to the next without missing a beat. The elegance of her style much mirrored the elegance of Roxane Coss’ arias.

Although this book was about a hostage situation for political reasons, this book was not about politics. The name of the country where the hostages were held was never mentioned because it didn’t matter to the story. This book was not about a certain country or its politics. This book was about human connection. It was about the way people, regardless of their background, culture, job, or language, all have human emotion in common.

There were moments when I found situations in the book to be unrealistic, however I was able to suspend disbelief for the enjoyment of the story. I don’t know that everyone would be as affected and mesmerized by music as they were, and this is coming from a huge music lover. I also don’t know how believable it would be to have lines between the hostages and terrorists become as fuzzy as they were, but again, suspension of disbelief.

I’m still pondering the ending. It seemed to come very abruptly. I won’t give anything away, I’ll just say that I closed the book unsure of how I felt about the ending and wanting more information.

Regardless of my feelings about the conclusion of the book, I still would highly recommend it. It is a book that held my interest from page 1, has distinct and interesting characters, and would spur very interesting discussion.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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8 Responses

  1. Your timing is perfect! At BC last week we were discussing favorite books and Bel Canto was on someone’s list. I just picked up the audio version yesterday to load on my ipod (she mentioned loving the audio book.

    Glad to hear you liked this and I will be prepared for the quick ending. Don’t you hate it when you love 99% of a book the the 1% really doesn’t work?

    • I am really interested to hear how you like the audio book! Yea, I’m not sure about the ending, but I’ll be anxious to compare notes with you!

  2. I’ve tried to read this book twice, and I failed both times.

    • Me too. Something about it just couldn’t hold me too long. I’m aware of the praise heaped on it, and Julie’s post is making me consider giving it another try. The book has been languishing on my shelf forever.

  3. I’ve had this one on my list for forever it seems. Your description of the book has captivated me again and reminded me that I need to shake the dust off this one sometime soon and get around to reading it.

  4. I read this for a book club years ago and really enjoyed it. I remember lively discussion – one of those books to love or hate, it seems. (I don’t remember the ending – typical of me.)

  5. My book club loved this book. I love everything Patchett has written but I think this is the best one. I have to say though, that I can’t remember the ending as it has been too many years ago.

  6. Glad you recommend this. I have it on my TBR and plan to read it some time soon!

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