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Bel Canto (2001)

by Ann Patchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,969421396 (3.94)1 / 886
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)
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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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    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
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» See also 886 mentions

English (412)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Korean (1)  All languages (420)
Showing 1-5 of 412 (next | show all)
terrorists seize opera singer and other hostages, friendship develops but ends in tragedy
  ritaer | Jul 11, 2021 |
A wealthy Japanese industrialist is enticed to attend a birthday party celebration hosted by the government of an impoverished South American country by the promise of a performance from an opera singer whom he idolizes. The party is raided by a band of terrorists who hope to kidnap the country’s president. The president has stayed home to watch his favorite soap opera and the terrorists instead take all of the partygoers hostage.

Patchett creates a great cast of characters – both hostages and captors. There are no stereotypes – over the course of the novel we come to care deeply about these characters. As the boundaries between hostages and captors break down it becomes clear that this story will not end well.

The inevitability of the outcome adds to the poignancy of the love stories (of which there are several).

The story is told with a remarkable roving / omniscient point of view that moves seamlessly between characters.

This novel is definitely worthy of all the praise and accolades it has garnered.
( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
If you have ever wondered about Stockholm syndrome and how it could play out then this book is a good example. Told in the third person with an ensemble cast where a hostage situation in an unnamed country goes on for months. Like a watching train wreck in slow motion. Some wonderful characters. As one of the protagonists is a celebrated operatic soprano music also plays a large part of this book. Not quite five stars for me as the shifting POV meant that I never felt a strong emotional attachment to any of the characters but a really good read. ( )
  CharlotteBurt | Feb 1, 2021 |
I inhaled this improbable utopian story in a day and enjoyed it a lot, though as I sit down two days later to jot down a note about it, I can remember very little about why I liked it. Was it the story? Was it the writing? Maybe a little of both? I don't recall! It's probably more a 3.5 than a 4-star book for me.

I had never read Patchett before, so it was a treat to pick a first one that I wound up liking.

I do remember that the story seemed set farther back in time than it was actually set, and I'm not really clear on whether this was by design or was just some sort of baggage or misread I brought myself. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Ponderous - Could not finish ( )
  starkravingmad | Dec 25, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 412 (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, AnnaNarratorsecondary 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
Publisher's editors
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Wikipedia in English (3)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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

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