Bel Canto

Bel Canto

A Novel

Book - 2001 | 1st ed.
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Barbarajean Apr 21, 2020

This novel was spellbinding: a literary masterpiece, a suspense-filled thriller, and a tender romance. I highly recommend it.

ArapahoeTina Oct 26, 2019

An absolutely gorgeous novel. The language alone makes this worth the read, but the intricate plot involving multiple cultures, music and relationships, all mixing in the forced setting of a hostage situation, is fascinating.

Oct 06, 2019

I checked this out for a writing group I'm in. Never finished it. I thought it was boring.

janicedlb Sep 09, 2019

Incredibly, a novel grounded in languages and opera, where one of the heroes is the translator. With the slow burn of the story line, Patchett reinforces how much our life expectancy is absolutely grounded in where and when we were born.

Jul 21, 2019

I recommend this book. When you finish it, you may be thinking about it for days (in a thoughtful musing sort of way) and will be in good company.

Jan 12, 2019

A wonderful book and well-crafted novel. Brilliant how Patchett uses how small singular events to build momentum toward the mutual discovery of the humanity beneath the circumstance. Highly recommended.

Nov 21, 2018

I really enjoyed reading this book many years ago. I also enjoyed seeing the film recently at the Bytowne Cinema.

Sep 27, 2018

I have read this book 3 times over the years and it has never ceased to captivate my attention. I think it has a special quality about it. It is a well crafted look at human nature and the things the separate us as well as the things that bind us. There is lots to read between the lines for the reader that cares to look. Otherwise it is simply a good story.

TechLibrarian Jul 25, 2018

What, there's a movie coming out!? I had no idea, but doubt it could do justice to this absolutely captivating book. I think what I like best about it is the writing itself--literary but clear--though the characters are also quite remarkable. It's not a light book but would still do for a summer read. I'd especially recommend this book to music lovers, though I think pretty much anyone would find it enjoyable! It maybe starts out a bit slow but the pace only builds until the conclusion, when it's a full-on "don't-talk-to-me-I'm-reading" page turner.

Jun 07, 2018

A beautiful book. Highly recommend to read now before the movie comes out!

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 02, 2018

Humane,funny, tragic and beautifully written. One of my all time favorite books!

Dec 20, 2017

Meh. I found it sort of tedious. I finished the book and liked the ending but it kind of went on and on and on and on...I think it will be a rare happening where the upcoming movie will be better than the book!

Dec 04, 2017

This beautiful book surprised me from beginning to end. All in all refreshing and the writing is fabulous.

Nov 01, 2017

Interesting novel about hostages held at a diplomatic party and the opera singer who was there to entertain that evening. Her impact, more importantly, the impact of music, on the hostages and their captors is substantial. This is a subtle, complex book to be savored.

Oct 25, 2017

This was my second book by the author. The first, Commonwealth, was difficult to get through. Thumbs down. But I gave her another chance when I picked up this one.

It ran smoother, and until the last few paragraphs of the last chapter (of the main book...not the epilogue) it was wonderful. I knew the end would be tragic, and it was, BUT the epilogue was out of left field. Heck, it was from a different planet! I had to go online to see if I was the only one confused. I'm not. The sudden marriage between two characters who had affairs with others during the hostage part makes no sense. None. Not even if I take the whole novel symbolically.

I kept thinking maybe Roxanne was pregnant with Hosokawa's baby, so Gen married her out of Japanese respect. Pregnancy wasn't even alluded to.

Nope. I am done with this author.

DBRL_IdaF Aug 10, 2017

Beautifully written. Interesting premise. In an unnamed South American country, a plot by rebels to kidnap the president goes as far awry as possible. The president is not in attendance at the party they crash with their guns and demands. What was meant to be a quick in-and-out kidnapping turns into a months-long hostage situation, with several young rebel soldiers guarding an international contingent of politicians and businessmen, plus one opera diva and a very overworked translator. As time drags on, alliances and bonds are forged, with a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome settling down on everyone.

Despite the guns and military element, this is much more a character drama than an action novel. The characters learn a lot about themselves as they grow and change in response to their unusual situation.

Mar 26, 2017

Loved it! Bel Canto has as its premise a massive international hostage-taking, but with an huge heart that symbolizes all humanity in microcosm. Like a dream, the slow pace depicts the characters as “who they are” and gradually peels and reveals layer upon layer, begging the question: what’s real? Patchett brilliantly folds a terrifying situation in on itself, allowing individual inner growth and bonding amongst the unlikeliest of characters – an exultation of our shared humanity. Then she balances it with page-turning flares of viciousness and panic. Loved it.

Dec 28, 2016

Beautiful, moving and one of my favourite books.

Oct 15, 2016

Very well written and I agree that it felt like its own universe. The gradually growing empathy for the terrorists was the most intriguing part about this story. I did not find it romantic in the slightest, however. The women in the story were treated like objects (on a pedestal, to be worshipped for their beauty and talent) rather than persons, which makes for a strange concept of intimacy and relationships.

ehbooklover Sep 18, 2016

This book had been in my TBR list for a while now. I have always been intrigued by its concept and had heard wonderful things about it from coworkers and friends. They were right! I really enjoyed it. A unique and beautifully written story full of wonderful characters that kept me engaged and invested in the outcome until the very last page.

Aug 25, 2016

This was my first Patchett book; I was underwhelmed. Great story line, some memorable characters. But it seemed to me the point of the story was emerging awareness of everyday ecstasy when we stop/slow down. That has value, but to describe that clarity with too many words seems to miss the point. A hundred fewer pages would have made a better book.

Jul 25, 2016

This was a well written, engaging story. I would have liked to see a note by the author about the real events the fictional book was based upon.

Incredible masterpiece. Patchett is a one of our great author talents!

Jan 09, 2016

The story line and the characters are likable. Very intense plot with a hostage setting. The reader learns about many of the characters. Violence and language warning. This is a memorable story.

Sep 02, 2015

This novel is very moving and thought provoking. I strongly believe in the calming, soothing and healing power of music. Music transcends language barriers and brings people together. Music plays a pivotal role in this novel. I see this story as a parable of how people from different cultures and of different politics can co-exist peacefully when they get to know each other and give each other a chance. It is also about finding your niche in life. The hostages bonded with their captors, which sometimes happens in actual cases. Patchett has a creative style and her characters emotions and observations were interesting. There was some ethnic stereotyping in the book.

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