Discussion Forums - Hidden Gems Hidden Gems

Topic: Who's read Bel Canto ... I need opinions!

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Who's read Bel Canto ... I need opinions!
Date Posted: 11/10/2007 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2006
Posts: 64
Back To Top

I had posted this under a different forum but rec'd no responses (yikes, maybe I'm invisible!) ... anyway ... here's my posting:

Ok, if you haven't read Bel Canto then read no further, since what I am about to write will spoil it for you!!


If you HAVE read it, then I am curious to find out what you thought of the ending ... What I thought was, WTH?????? 

I knew Carmen wasn't going to make it, and I thought it was likely that Gen might be killed too ... and even Mr. Hosokawa might die (which he did) ...

But ... Gen and Roxanne get married?  What what what???  I literally raced through this book, I was so enchanted by it ... and then the ending was like a slap in the face, just as sharp and abrupt as if someone had smacked me in the head.

Just wondering if anyone else found this ending jarring and almost inexplicable ... it would have made more sense to me if Roxanne had gone off with her new accompanist, or heck, even with the Vice Pres, Ruben. 

Or maybe it's just me.  Those last three pages threw me off so badly that I don't think I'd even want to read Patchett again.

Lemme know what you other Bel Canto readers are thinking.  I was sooooo disappointed by the ending.


Date Posted: 11/10/2007 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/10/2007
Posts: 3,272
Back To Top


We read this for our book club this year and everyone was thrown off by the ending.  I really wasn't that into it.  It just didn't catch my attention.  I completely agree with you about never wanting to read Patchett again.  I probably won't.  Most of the girls in my bookclub loved it.  I just was turned off by it.  The ending was jus all of a sudden there.  What I didn't understand was why the people didn't leave when they had plenty of opprotunities.

We discussed Gen and Roxanne getting married as a way of keeping the way it was in the house with everyone being together.  It was also brought up that they were some of the only survivors and who else would be able to relate to what they've been through but them. 

I honestly didn't like the book. 

Date Posted: 11/10/2007 8:33 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2006
Posts: 64
Back To Top

Thanks for responding -- I feel so less alone now!  I had actually liked it until those last few pages ... and I agree, I suppose she was shooting for a feeling of closure ... but she didn't do the best job of wrapping things up.   I knew it wouldn't have an "everyone lives happily ever after ending" but I would never have pictured Gen and Roxanne getting together.


Date Posted: 11/12/2007 9:10 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 13,991
Back To Top

 I know this book has been very popular, and I tried really hard, but I simply could not finish reading it. I was extremely bored by the whole thing---and at that time, it was very, very rare for me not to finish a book I started......


Date Posted: 11/12/2007 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2007
Posts: 230
Back To Top

I have to admit the ending dissuaded me from rereading.  Huh? 

Heather, you might enjoy reading Patty Hearst's autobiography, which discussed Stockholm Syndrome at length.  Or not :).  I kind of admired the way the author created this insular situation and then crafted the adaptive response of all the characters.

Date Posted: 1/18/2008 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2007
Posts: 47
Back To Top

 loved the writing  in this book.  To me it read like an aria sounds ( remember Tom Hank  talking about opera in'Philadelpia"?  Lovely! Oddly enough, however, the characters were not so believable, and I guess that was a really bog-down for some readers,because you wind up not caring about the characters- but the ending...!  Totally unbelievable.  It left me wondering what the author could have been thinking of.

Date Posted: 1/19/2008 9:40 AM ET
Member Since: 4/12/2007
Posts: 140
Back To Top

I, too, read it for book club. I was also jarred by the ending, but one woman in my club interpreted it in this way:  She said that she felt that Gen and Roxanne were together to be continually remined of the time in their lives in which they felt the best and were their best (obviously Roxanne was quite the diva before the events in the book).  I sort of liked that explanation and it make the ending at least plausable for me.

- Tracy


Date Posted: 1/23/2008 8:45 AM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2005
Posts: 810
Back To Top

I read this a long time ago, and remember feeling that the ending was just...way off.  Someone more knowledgeable about the world of opera than I am suggested, however, that the ending was, for lack of another term, operatic.

Date Posted: 1/23/2008 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
Back To Top

I don't remember the ending being off, but it has been a couple of years since I read it. I read another book by the same author that I didn't like nearly as much.

Date Posted: 1/24/2008 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2006
Posts: 3,359
Back To Top

I agree with you all....I was loving the book more and more until I reached the ending, and then it all fell flat.  It resolved too quickly and too "conveniently" and it didn't fit with the rest of the narrative which I thought was elegantly written.  I wouldn't stay away from Patchett because of it, but I hope some of her other works have better thought-out endings.