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 »breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots.Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.« less
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.
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.
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.
I like Patchett's style of writing and use of language. I have read other novels by her and her style is rich, languid, and haunting.
That aside, I decided that I really didn't care for the characters in this book, they did not interest me that much. However, the chapters I read were engaging. She sets up the novel in a slow, observant manner and I think it will turn into a good story, but is outside of my area of interest, this time.
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.