Search - Bel Canto

Bel Canto
Bel Canto
Author: Ann Patchett
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. 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 ...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060934415
ISBN-10: 0060934417
Publication Date: 4/1/2002
Pages: 318
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 872 ratings
Publisher: Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Bel Canto on + 376 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
The writing and plot certainly kept me going and made me want to finish, but as others have stated, the ending fell flat. Just as the ending can ruin the most beautiful piece of music, this did. It put me off of Patchett for a while, as I felt the end and epilogue were tacked on ... but for no reason I could possibly think of. Made me consider the rest of the story "unreal" in retrospect.
reviewed Bel Canto on + 337 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Unusual and facinating study of fear, accommodation and communication. There is nothing ordinary about Bel Canto.

The story opens at a diplomatic event in a third world country - a birthday party for the head of a Japanese electronics giant, featuring a world-renowned soprano and attended by a Who's Who of local politicians and international financiers and businessmen. When terrorists take the gathering hostage but can't find the president of the country (who is home watching his favorite soap opera), they are nonplussed.

The weeks-long hostage situation forms the basis for Patchett's story, and it's worth the time.
reviewed Bel Canto on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
Delightful story of a hostage crisis in which South American, American and Japanese visitors all learn to survive together, and the surprising relationaships that form in this vacuum without normal cultural barriers. Very suspenseful and emotional. Different from anything else you will read.
reviewed Bel Canto on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
A warm and poignant story despite it's unlikely plot -- a group of diplomats and distinguished guests of the president of a south american country are taken hostage by a group of terrorists. In the course of the novel we come to understand what motivates people's deepest yearnings and desires, and to care very much about the characters we are meeting.
reviewed Bel Canto on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
Outstanding. Based on true story of an abduction in South America, this gripping novel opens the doors to the worlds of opera, a rich industrialist, a working class translator, and a crew of desparate rebels.
Read All 152 Book Reviews of "Bel Canto"

Please Log in to Rate these Book Reviews

reviewed Bel Canto on + 116 more book reviews
I found the story in this award-winning book refreshingly different and unique. It is about a months-long hostage situation in a South American nation that involves citizens from different countries who speak different languages. The character Gen Watanabe is a multilingual translator who bridges the barriers between terrorist and hostage and hostage and fellow hostage. Music and song, specifically opera, also erase barriers. I thought at first the length of their hostage situation seem unrealistic until I learned it was inspired by a similar event in Peru in 1996-97. Some have criticized the ending, but while I found it jarring, it was realistic. What was unrealistic was continuing the life and relationships created in the mansion under seige.
reviewed Bel Canto on + 6 more book reviews
It's been awhile since I was in such a state of awe while reading a novel. I tend to be a bit critical but Patchett held me from open to close.... This was beautifully written emotionally. Bel Canto will stay with you long after you have read several others. Of her books, this is by far my favorite.
reviewed Bel Canto on + 7 more book reviews
Riveting from start to finish, especially for someone who's spent time in South America. Ann Patchett's way with words and ability to create characters who are human make fiction enjoyable for someone who generally avoids it!