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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
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Bel Canto (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Ann Patchett

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11,056389363 (3.95)1 / 831
Member:paulmorriss
Title:Bel Canto
Authors:Ann Patchett
Info:Fourth Estate Ltd (2002), Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:
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Work details

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (Author) (2001)

  1. 80
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    atimco: In both books, music is a character in its own right, set against a backdrop of human violence and tragedy.
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English (381)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Korean (1)  All languages (389)
Showing 1-5 of 381 (next | show all)
Most of my reading I enjoyed the book.
It's about the relationship developing between hostages and their captors.

There are many people in the story describes the writer quite stereotypically. The rich and privileged hostages, the terrorists, most of whom are teenagers of Indian descent, illiterate and ignorant, violent and innocent. The Tower of Babel of languages ​​and cultures, requiring humans to find non-verbal ways to communicate. The book is written interesting and fluent, and although it doesn't stretch in the conventional sense of the word, because the writer pre-neutralized the elements that can reach the reader, it is interesting to read mainly that the story is unconventional, and some of his insights original and fascinating. And then came the odd epilogue which seemed to have taken from another story. There are few books whose end is so strange and doesn't relate to the story, like the end of this book.


The book is readable and interesting sometimes, the writer knows how to write, raises interesting topics but doesn't know what to do with them. She cannot get away from the story in time and finally destroys it.

Regardless of the book but only the writer's abilities, I am going to check out her other book, The Wonder River. ( )
  Ramonremires | Jan 14, 2019 |
Loosely based on the 1996 attacks on the Japanese Embassy in Lima, Peru by the MRTA, Bel Canto bewitched me. Essentially set in 1 room - like an opera set - this "hostage taking gone wrong" effortlessly manages to keep your interest piqued through all if its 300-some pages. ( )
  thiscatsabroad | Jan 13, 2019 |
This novel, Bel Canto or beautiful singing, is set somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president. He is hosting a party for a Japanese businessman who enjoys opera. So he has invited the Opera star, Roxanne Coss, to entertain at the party. All is well until gun carrying terrorists arrive and take over the home. They are hoping to kidnap the president of the country who in fact didn't attend the party so they then are forced into a frustrating dilemma. After the takeover, the novel becomes an interesting character study. All sorts of personal interactions begin to develop, many of which center around Roxanne, the opera singer. The characters and the reader are lulled into a false sense of well being that can't sustain itself in a hostage situation. In spite of finding the book to move a little slow at times, I was caught up in the way Patchett wove music into the lives of both the hostages and the terrorists. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
I am aware that I am supposed to be reviewing children's books, but once I met the requirement, I wanted to add books that I have been reading the last few months. This book, for example, is one that I just recently reread. I didn't think I could be surprised by a book that I've already read! It begins with a character singing at a formal gathering. Something tragic happens, but it brings people together that otherwise would not have gotten close. The events of the story unfold in a lovely way. This book was recommended by my son's dad, many years ago, and he has great taste. It is very obvious that the author, Ann Patchett, had very refined writing skills. Although not the kind of book I would usually choose for myself, I thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )
  denisebarry | Nov 20, 2018 |
My first Ann Patchett book. Patchett writes very well and with a good story, this is an excellent read. The characters are being kept hostage but they try to make the best of it and even fall in love, transcending the limitations of language. How beautiful this is! But the ending slightly mars it. It is quite incredulous that Gen and Roxane married each other. You can sort of understand why after their respective loved ones died (for solace) but it may be better to leave a poignant ending. ( )
  siok | Nov 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 381 (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, AnnAuthorprimary 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
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:21 -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 11 descriptions

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