The poignant -- and at times very funny -- novel from the author of 'The Magician's Assistant', winner of the Orange Prize, repackaged and promoted as part of Perennial's fiction promotion in 2008. Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their ...
The poignant -- and at times very funny -- novel from the author of 'The Magician's Assistant', winner of the Orange Prize, repackaged and promoted as part of Perennial's fiction promotion in 2008. Latin terrorists storm an international gathering hosted by an underprivileged country to promote foreign interest and trade, only to find that their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap opera on TV. Among the hostages are a world-class opera singer and her biggest fan, a Japanese tycoon who has been persuaded to attend the party on the understanding that she will perform half a dozen arias after dinner. The tycoon's engaging and sympathetic translator plays a vital role in the subsequent relationships between so many different nationalities closeted together, interpreting not only the terrorists' negotiations but also the language of love between lovers who cannot understand what the other is saying. Ultimately, it is the terrorist strike that does more to promote foreign relations than anyone could have hoped to achieve with the party.
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The author creates a world familiar to almost no one...an international party (where people cannot even communicate due to differences in language) that is invaded by rebels who hold the guests hostage...and subtly demonstrates how beautiful life could be if only we could block out the prejudices and stressors of the world and love one another... While so unlike a "typical" real life month, it captures every reader's understanding of joy and sorrow. Beautifully written and powerful.
Jul 25, 2013
August monthly reading
This book will be my August Reading Choice.
Fantastic and compelling. Dystopia is always my favorite.
Oh so wonderful, if you really want to choose a book after a chick lit, this will definitely be the choice.
I really recommend it, and I need to write fifty words to get my review.
Oct 27, 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bel Canto. It was one of those books that I didn't want to put down. I found the ending to be surprising (and a bit disappointing) but would still recommend this book whole heartedly.
Aug 18, 2011
Paperback was in good condition...perfect for my summer reading. Bel Canto is a great read; I highly recommend it . It reads quickly and helps if you have a background and/or a love of classical music. As well, Bel Canto involves cultural differences, politics of many differing views and enduring love and friendships that all come together in a beautifully written story. My favorite character was the Japanese business man. It seemed like there were 2 endings; the first I thought would come and the second was a surprise. Have a good read with this novel.
Sep 5, 2007
There are many remarkable aspects to this engrossing story of a group of socialites discovering the depth of their true selves while being held hostage by a band of revolutionaries in the Embassy of a small South American Country. What is surprising is that out of the discomfort of a constricted life and the ongoing threat of death, people find their way to what really matters in their lives and it's not long before masks are dropped and genuine connections are made. In a claustrophobic stage that merges the third world with the art world and the world of jet setters, it is the skill and sensitivity of Ann Patchett that puts the reader exactly in place of each character, so that at the end we feel we understand that freedom doesn't always look the way we think.
Publishers Weekly, 2001-04-16 As her readers now eagerly anticipate, Patchett (The Magician's Assistant) can be counted on to deliver novels rich in imaginative bravado and psychological nuance. This fluid and assured narrative, inspired by a real incident, demonstrates her growing maturity and mastery of form as she artfully integrates a musical theme within a dramatic story. Celebrated American soprano Roxane Coss has just finished a recital in the home of the vice-president of a poor South American country when terrorists burst in, intent on taking the country's president hostage. The president, however, has not attended the concert, which is a birthday tribute in honor of a Japanese business tycoon and opera aficionado. Determined to fulfill their demands, the rough, desperate guerrillas settle in for a long siege. The hostages, winnowed of all women except Roxane, whose voice beguiles her captors, are from many countries; their only common language is a love of opera. As the days drag on, their initial anguish and fear give way to a kind of complex domesticity, as intricately involved as the melodies Roxane sings during their captivity. While at first Patchett's tone seems oddly flippant and detached, it soon becomes apparent that this light note is an introduction to her main theme, which is each character's cathartic experience. The drawn-out hostage situation comes to seem normal, even halcyon, until the inevitable rescue attempt occurs, with astonishing consequences. Patchett proves equal to her themes; the characters' relationships mirror the passion and pain of grand opera, and readers are swept up in a crescendo of emotional fervor. 8-city author tour. (June) Forecast: Opera can be a tough sell, and though the musical theme is deftly integrated, this book may have a harder time catching readers' interest than did Patchett's first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. Positive critical response should attract attention, however. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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