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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto (2001)

by Ann Patchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
11,392401370 (3.94)1 / 854
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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    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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English (393)  German (3)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Korean (1)  All languages (401)
Showing 1-5 of 393 (next | show all)
I’m bored stiff by Patchett. Reminds me of Anne Tyler who has the same soporific effect. Find that I just can’t finish Canto; wasn’t bel enough for me. ( )
  fountainoverflows | Dec 31, 2019 |
In the hands of almost any other author, this novel would've been unbearably pretentious. In Ann Patchett's hands, it's simple and beautiful. 4 1/2 stars. ( )
  tiasreads | Dec 11, 2019 |
This one was a little tough for me to get through, it felt like it was all characters and no plot. And then BOOM it ends in like 20 pages. ( )
1 vote rlsova | Oct 29, 2019 |
Oh, Ann Patchett how you broke my heart at the end of Bel Canto. I should have remembered that the meaning of Bel Canto in Italian is "beautiful Singing," but has many other definitions. Some of which describe how the book progressed:

*an impeccable legato production throughout the singer's (seamless)

*the use of a light tone in the higher registers

*an agile, flexible technique capable of dispatching ornate

*the ability to execute fast, accurate divisions

*the avoidance of aspirates and eschewing a loose vibrato

*a pleasing, well-focused timbre

*a clean attack

*limpid diction

*graceful phrasing rooted in a complete mastery of breath control.

So why was I surprised? Read it for yourself. Such a wonderful and humanistic book. ( )
  SandraBrower | Oct 27, 2019 |

I first read the 318 page “Bel Canto” (BC) by Ann Patchett about ten years ago. I loved it, rated it a 5. Because of BC I developed a crush on opera – I bought a number of CDs and I went to live Met broadcasts aired at select movie theaters around the country. Recently, I’ve been a bit bored with what I’ve been reading and decided to read some of my old favorites. BC is probably the 4th re-read I’ve done this year; the experience has been less than what I expected. Generally, I’ve found the stories to be between good and very good but not as super as I had remembered, BC included.

BC has an excellent plot and the story is modeled after a true event that occurred in South America a number of years ago. Armed rebels take over the home of the unidentified country’s Vice-President, expecting to capture and hold hostage an invited guest, the President. But he is a last minute cancelation. Instead, the band of very young soldiers, including two girls, have captured some foreign dignitaries and executives as well as Roxane Coss, perhaps the world’s foremost diva. The rebels make demands of the government, the government refuses and a 4 ½ month stalemate ensues. Relationships develop. And then a bloody climax.

But it is not the climax that stuns the reader most; instead it is a four to five page epilogue that leaves many of us scratching our heads, wondering why, what does this mean, did I miss the whole point here, etc. etc.

There are some very nice scenes throughout the book, very sweet, very romantic, but they just didn’t have the same impact on reading BC a second time. I read a couple of other stories by Patchett after my first reading of BC but they didn’t come close to moving me the same way. Unfortunately, neither does a second reading of the book – and I am no closer to an understanding of the epilogue than I was ten years ago. Maybe rereads isn’t such a great idea. ( )
  maneekuhi | Sep 5, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 393 (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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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
For Karl VanDevender
First words
When the lights went off the accompanist kissed her.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Translator, a star
In hostage situation
Love and friendships thrive

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