Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award • Winner of the Orange Prize • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
"Bel Canto is its own universe. A marvel of a book." —Washington Post Book World
New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett’s spellbinding novel about love and opera, and the unifying ways people learn to communicate across cultural barriers in times of crisis
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. 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 takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.
Patchett's lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Like a haunting song, we couldn’t get Ann Patchett’s breakout novel out of our heads. A world-renowned soprano performs at a gala in honor of a Japanese executive held in an unnamed South American country, but the festivities come to a shocking end when guerrillas hijack the party. As days stretch into weeks, the line between hostage and captor blurs as the divisions between Patchett’s diverse characters slowly disappear and their shared humanity comes to the surface. Bel Canto is a beautifully humanistic story; we’re looking forward to seeing Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe bring the book’s emotion to the screen.
As her readers now eagerly anticipate, Patchett (The Magician's Assistant) can be counted on to deliver novels rich in imaginative bravado and psychological nuance. This fluid and assured narrative, inspired by a real incident, demonstrates her growing maturity and mastery of form as she artfully integrates a musical theme within a dramatic story. Celebrated American soprano Roxane Coss has just finished a recital in the home of the vice-president of a poor South American country when terrorists burst in, intent on taking the country's president hostage. The president, however, has not attended the concert, which is a birthday tribute in honor of a Japanese business tycoon and opera aficionado. Determined to fulfill their demands, the rough, desperate guerrillas settle in for a long siege. The hostages, winnowed of all women except Roxane, whose voice beguiles her captors, are from many countries; their only common language is a love of opera. As the days drag on, their initial anguish and fear give way to a kind of complex domesticity, as intricately involved as the melodies Roxane sings during their captivity. While at first Patchett's tone seems oddly flippant and detached, it soon becomes apparent that this light note is an introduction to her main theme, which is each character's cathartic experience. The drawn-out hostage situation comes to seem normal, even halcyon, until the inevitable rescue attempt occurs, with astonishing consequences. Patchett proves equal to her themes; the characters' relationships mirror the passion and pain of grand opera, and readers are swept up in a crescendo of emotional fervor. 8-city author tour.
I loved the romance. Truly captured the feeling of love. I really wondered about it’s truthfulness. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.
The best Ann Patchett book
This is my favorite book of all time. I should read it again.
It took me 3 tries to get into this book. Not high on my list of favorite books. I found the story line a bit difficult to believe. I did finish the book. Lots of readers seem to enjoy it. Not me.