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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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9,269305323 (3.94)1 / 662
Member:pigletmph
Title:Bel canto : a novel
Authors:Ann Patchett
Info:New York : HarperCollins, c2001.
Collections:Your library
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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (2001)

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English (298)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  Korean (1)  French (1)  All languages (305)
Showing 1-5 of 298 (next | show all)
As I turned the last page of this book I let out a huge exhale which was followed by my girlfriend whining because I woke her up (it was midnight, I hadn't put the book down in hours). I think I held my breath for the last ten pages of the book.

I fell in love with every character. I fell in love with the writing. I fell in love with the unique and odd plotline.

I hate to give away spoilers so I can't write more, but yes... read this book. Everyone. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
I loved the lyrical and musical quality of this book. The language was simple but powerful. I came to love the characters as we shared their journey in time. The story was delivered in a very gentle way despite the violence of the circumstances. In the interview at the end of the book, I learned that Gen's name was pronounced with a hard G. I wish I had known that as I was reading the story. It is a significant point given that language and sounds are key elements and it could easily have been addressed in a conversation.
In addition, I have mixed feelings about the epilogue. It is a neat way to wrap things up but just a bit too good to be true - a minor quibble. ( )
  rosiezbanks | Jul 28, 2014 |
You have to just go along with it quite a bit as the outside world reaction or lack thereof seems unrealistic, but if you can let it go a beautiful story will unfold. And it's funny too, tragicomic but beautiful. I'd love to see it made into a movie. ( )
  twerkysandwich | Jul 10, 2014 |
Beautiful and tragic. I love the way time almost disappears in this novel - I couldn't believe when I was halfway through and they were still in the house, although I don't know where else I expected them to go. The book moves along nicely and flows wonderfully. I was a bit disappointed with the end - it seemed a little thrown together - but the rest of the novel makes up for that. One of the best I've read in the last year or so. It's one of those books that leaves you thinking for days about the characters, the plot, why things happened the way they did, and what might have happened if they hadn't. I really didn't want to close it when I got to the end. Beautifully written, and a great study on misunderstanding, human interaction, and love. ( )
  bookwormam | Jul 8, 2014 |
Read during: Spring 2006

I ended up not liking this one even more (or less?) than I expected. The initial set up, a hostage taking in a Spanish speaking South American country, was interesting. A famous opera singer has been hired to sing at a birthday party for Japanese businesman who is presumed to be doing business in that country. He really only wants to hear the singer, whom he deeply admires. They are taken hostage by a rebel group that intended to capture President but he did not come sothey hold a large number of the party attendees hostage. That is all fine and well but it becomes a stalemate and they are there for months. It just strained credulity for me, not that hostages could be held that long but that they would all seem to become friends with each other and the hostage takers. Roxanne, the opera singer, is the main mover all of this, by singing every day but I never liked her, she just seemed like a diva with no much depth or warmth. Gen, the Japanese translator, becomes very human, esp. when he falls in love with Carmen, one of two women hostage takers. I knew it would all end badly because the author says so at the top of the novel. All the hostage takers die, as well as the Japanese business man. So, Gen married Roxanne, in a bizarre plot turn I can't even begin to understand.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 298 (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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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. It's a perfect evening -- until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in and take the entire party hostage.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

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