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Bel canto : a novel by Ann Patchett
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Bel canto : a novel (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Ann Patchett

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9,525315304 (3.95)1 / 702
Member:pigletmph
Title:Bel canto : a novel
Authors:Ann Patchett
Info:New York : HarperCollins, c2001.
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001)

  1. 80
    The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: In both books, music is a character in its own right, set against a backdrop of human violence and tragedy.
  2. 60
    Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (the_awesome_opossum)
    the_awesome_opossum: Both novels are about human connections formed in the face of unusual crises. Very competent and well-written, both books had much the same vibe about them
  3. 52
    Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (readerbabe1984)
  4. 10
    One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (SilentInAWay)
  5. 12
    Room by Emma Donoghue (BookshelfMonstrosity)
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English (307)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Korean (1)  All languages (315)
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
Differing opinions about a book brings out a lively discussion, regardless of the subject matter. But this month’s read gave us fascinating material … music, culture and political struggle with a dash of humour, romance and operatic drama.

When I say differing opinions, our group’s scores for Bel Canto ranged from 2 to 10. The low scores found the story slow and filled with mundane details regarding the hostages’ confined stay. There were also comments regarding the fantastical nature of the story, with little connection to the Lima Crisis of 1996, which it was based on.

Our high scores found the story enthralling with characters that drew you in and moved you emotionally. They found empathy for all of them, hostages and insurgents alike. It was mentioned that music itself became a character and that the whole story read much like an opera (Intentional? We think so), setting a scene, building the characters and rising to a climax.
The story could easily be represented on a stage, so this idea is not unrealistic and it found sound credit with us.
We had a great discussion on opera and how it resonates with people’s emotions. Combined with the cultural variety of the hostages and their evolving relationships, most of us found the whole concept a thoroughly entertaining and worthy read.
  DaptoLibrary | Apr 29, 2015 |
I loved the premise of this book: a bunch of people who don't know each other (and don't really want to) stuck in a bizarre situation in which they have little choice but to form bonds with the most unlikely people among them. Finding themselves tied together through their love of opera and the opera singer trapped with them, the people become even more bonded together. Patchett's writing is beautiful here and she manages to make opera into a vital element of the book. The characters seem realistic and the way that they become friends and unlikely lovers seemed believable. [POSSIBLE PLOT SPOILERS AHEAD] I loved this book up until the epilogue, which left me puzzled. Of course, given the situation and the mounting stakes, there's little way that the book could have a happy ending, but I was perplexed by the marriage at the end. The characters involved in the marriage were not those that I'd wanted and hoped would end up together, but I suppose that part of Patchett's point here is that difficult and traumatic situations sometimes bring people together in unusual ways. Recommended. ( )
1 vote lisamunro | Apr 4, 2015 |
my favorite book - intellectual, class, race, terrorism all turned on it's head ( )
  bemm1462 | Jan 31, 2015 |
Beautiful story of a black tie party in a fictional South American country that is set upon by terrorists planning to kidnap the president. Unfortunately for the rebels, the president isn't there and they settle in with a bunch of hostages, hoping to get something for their troubles. It revolves around a famous opera singer who is performing at the party and the civilizing power of music. ( )
1 vote DanTarlin | Jan 18, 2015 |
Beautiful writing -- so many sentences I wanted to stop and enjoy because they perfectly captured a certain mood or truth. I also loved this as a people-watcher. So much of the book is PEOPLE, learning the fascinating, endearing, infuriating details of their nature.

I wasn't entirely satisfied by the ending (especially the epilogue), but then, I am not sure there could have been an ending did make me entirely *happy*, given the premise.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 307 (next | show all)
''Bel Canto'' often shows Patchett doing what she does best -- offering fine insights into the various ways in which human connections can be forged, whatever pressures the world may place upon them.
 
Although this novel is entirely housebound, at the vice presidential mansion, Ms. Patchett works wonders to avoid any sense of claustrophobia and keeps the place fresh at every turn.
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patchett, Annprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bonis, OristelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Euthymiou, MaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fields, AnnaReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Figueira, Maria do CarmoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hrubý, JiříTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaluđerović, MajaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lauer, KarenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Løken, Silje BeiteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leistra, AukeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mastrangello, StellaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, Kirsten A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Preminger, SharonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pugliese, LucianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schapel, EvelinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sporrong, DorotheeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stabej, JožeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wanatphong, Čhittrāphō̜nTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolnicka, AleksandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Xie, YaolingTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yamamoto, YayoiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Fonti e colline chiesi agli Dei;
m 'udiro alfine,
pago io vovro,
ne mai quel fonte co 'desir miei,
ne mai quel monte trapassero


"I asked the Gods for hills and springs;
They listened to me at last.
I shall live contented.
And I shall never desire to go beyond that spring,
nor shall I desire to cross that mountain."

-- Sei Ariette I: Malinconia, ninfa gentil,
Vincenzo Bellini
Sprecher: Ihr Fremdlinge! was sucht oder fordert ihn von uns?
Tamino: Freundschaft und Liebe.
Sprecher: Bist du bereit, es mit deinem Leben zu erkämpfen?
Tamino: Ja.


Speaker: Stranger, what do you seek or ask from us?
Tamino: Friendship and love.
Speaker: And are you prepared even if it costs you your life?
Tamino: I am.

-- The Magic Flute by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dedication
For Karl VanDevender
First words
When the lights went off the accompanist kissed her.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary
Translator, a star
In hostage situation
Love and friendships thrive
(julienne_preacher)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060838728, Paperback)

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxane Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Reuben Iglesias, the diminutive and gracious vice president, quickly gets sideways of the kidnappers, who have no interest in him whatsoever. Meanwhile, a Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while vacationing. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months.

With the omniscience of magic realism, Ann Patchett flits in and out of the hearts and psyches of hostage and terrorist alike, and in doing so reveals a profound, shared humanity. Her voice is suitably lyrical, melodic, full of warmth and compassion. Hearing opera sung live for the first time, a young priest reflects:

Never had he thought, never once, that such a woman existed, one who stood so close to God that God's own voice poured from her. How far she must have gone inside herself to call up that voice. It was as if the voice came from the center part of the earth and by the sheer effort and diligence of her will she had pulled it up through the dirt and rock and through the floorboards of the house, up into her feet, where it pulled through her, reaching, lifting, warmed by her, and then out of the white lily of her throat and straight to God in heaven.
Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give, even in a novel so imbued with the rich imaginative potential of magic realism. But in a fractious world, Bel Canto remains a gentle reminder of the transcendence of beauty and love. --Victoria Jenkins

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:39 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

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 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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