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Paperback Bel Canto Book

ISBN: 0060934417

ISBN13: 9780060934415

Bel Canto

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

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Book Overview

A novel that is as lyrical and profound as it is unforgettable, Bel Canto engenders in the reader the very passion for art and the language of music that its characters discover. A virtuoso performance by an important writer.

Customer Reviews

8 ratings

What writing. The characters are real and come to life before your eyes. As I read I wanted to be th


Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I am only about halfway through but I believe the book is brilliant. How Ann Patchett came up with the idea is interesteing for me to know. It can't be part of her experience so it is a result of a great mnid and fertile imagination along with lots of wisdom about music and language.

Ann Patchett Is Phenomenal

This is such an interesting, textured novel and study of the human experience. Loved every page!

Spell-binding plot

Bel Canto is probably the most perfect novel I've read in years. Beautifully written, with a spell-binding plot that will hold you till the last page (and then you'll wish for more), filled with interesting characters, thought-provoking hostage situation--I can almost guarantee you'll be thinking about it for days after reading it.

Wonderful, compelling read

I loved this book. Beautifully written, gripping from beginning to end and full of surprises. Highly recommended.

Beautiful Book

This book is about a hostage situation in a third world country. Random but important guests are held at the vice president's house by terrorists. The author manages to put so much beauty into this seemingly horrifying scenario. The reader can not help but feel empathy toward her characters. I was honestly moved by the book. I will be keeping this book to read again and again. Highly recommended.


"Bel Canto" is a beautifully written story of unlikely love and secret desires. Do not be put off by the barebones plot--a group of people at a party taken hostage by South American terrorists. And do not think you are in for a routine "put a bunch of strangers in a room and then learn their life stories" sort of saga. Patchett gathers together a group that spans nationalities, professions and class and reveals the hidden depths, sometimes in a few short pages, through their interactions with each other. Take the Russian minister of commerce--portrayed as something of a buffoon who has fallen in love with Roxane, the opera singer. He screws up his courage to declare himself--which must be done through Gen, the translator. What he says to her is completely unexpected--a wonderful story of his childhood and an art book. He declares himself a man who appreciates beauty and therefore worthy to love her, and asks nothing in return. Meanwhile we see into the heart of Gen the translator, as he awkwardly acts as intermediary he realizes he has never told anyone that he loves them, not a woman, not family, not his mother--he feels as if his life has been to act as a conduit for the thoughts and feelings of others, that he has never experienced a real life of his own. Then there is the relationship of Mr. Hosokawa and Roxane, who do not share a common language. Is it possible to love a person to whom you cannot speak? I loved the transformation of the characters that occurs--the Vice President of the country dreams of adopting one of the young terrorists and becoming a gardener, another terrorist uncovers his great gift as a singer, a buttoned up Japanese businessman becomes Roxane's accompianist, the young priest becomes a gifted and courageous spiritual counselor. The Generals become human too, worrying about their young soldiers as a close relative might worry about a child, and regretting recruiting them for this operation that has gone terribly wrong.Like the hostages themselves, we get lulled by the harmony and unreality of life within the compound, yet as time passes Patchett delicately conveys a sense of impending doom through the Swiss Red Cross mediator, who himself longs to become a hostage after seeing the community that has been created within the walls of the Vice President's house. Patchett tells us at the beginning of the story what the end will be, and yet creates an aura of suspense as we realize that dreams of the future will never be fulfilled. There is a surprise ending here that I wasn't sure rang true, but the book stands without it--a wonderful novel!

Hope, Possibilities, and Beauty

"It makes you wonder. All the brilliant things we might have done with our lives if only we suspected we knew how." Although this simple sentence appears near the end of Ann Patchett's beautiful and brilliant "Bel Canto", it aptly sums up the whole of this excellent story. With the daunting task of setting the entire story in the sometimes-home of a South American Vice President, Patchett breathes wonderful life into a cast of characters put into unusual and tense surroundings. When the birthday celebration of a Japanese businessman becomes the hostile battleground for a group of renegade terrorists, the party's attendees become the unwilling cast which Patchett moves deftly through their paces. Although the claustrophobic setting of this story would seem off-putting, Patchett takes this chance to explore the endless possibilities of the human heart within the strict confines of its captive surroundings, giving her novel the illusion of breathtaking expansiveness and of being totally boundless.This is one of those rare books which one is loathe to put down, yet reluctant to read quickly, for the pure joy of reading the poetically written emotions and perfectly worded sentences. I found that I could only read one page per sitting, so badly did I want to savor it's exquisite flavors. Count me in as a new advocate of Ann Patchett!
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