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-conditionin...more
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By tieing their lives together, they are in a way honoring the loves they lost and keeping their…more I think the short answer is 'shared suffering'.
By tieing their lives together, they are in a way honoring the loves they lost and keeping their memories alive.
By marrying, they make the relationships they had while being held hostage a part of their own relationship, in a way not letting go of that part of their past.(less) (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>
I only liked Bel Canto. I understand its appeal - the coming together of hostages and terrorists alike, bu ...more
In 1996, the home of the Japanese ambassador to Peru was taken hostage by guerillas during a party and held for 126 days until the home was raided by military force killing all the insurgents, many executed after they surrendered. At a time when Peru suffered an undercurrent of terrorist activity, president Fujimori was praised for his handling of t ...more
I first read "Bel Canto" in 2005, and I was so absorbed in the story that I would sneak away from my desk at work just to have a few precious moments with it. The story opens with a renowned opera singer, Roxanne Coss, giving a private performance at the home of a vice president of an unnamed South American country. Several people in the room are already in love with her, and others wil ...more
1.5 "overwrought, stereotypical, ridiculous" stars.
2015 Most Disappointing Read Award (tie)
Of all the books on my reading list, "Bel Canto" was one that I was most looking forward to. You see after my faith and my loved ones the thing I most adore is Opera.
Opera has been my passion, my solace, my escape and the most direct connection to my emotional life. I have found Opera beautiful, profound, wise and affirming. I was introduced to Opera at the age of 10 and since then there has not been a ...more
So, what does that have to do with this? Well, I guess you ...more
How could a wanna-read-bad TBR turn into a sorry-ass DNF?
WTF? DNF! OMG!
Who AM I? I finish every book I start, yet I did not finish this one! And I LOVE Ann Patchett! Her State of Wonder is one of my all-time favorite books! What the fuck is going on?
I’m having a serious crisis here. Have I thought this out carefully? Can I really pull off abandoning this book? I must do it. Calm down. It’s okay. Listen to your friends who whisper, “It’s fine….let go…” A zillion other books are beckoning. ...more
Bel Canto is one of those novels that is good on so many levels, it's taken me days after finishing it to put my thoughts about the story and the characters into words. This work is as lyrical and dramatic as any opera, and the word "brilliant" isn't excessive to describe the talent of author, Ann Patchett. I wondered how she came up with such a remarkable and unique story, but then learned she'd been influenced by actual events involving a hostage situation in ...more
He believed that life, true life, was something that was stored in music. True life was kept safe in the lines of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin while you went out in the world and met the obligations required of you. Certainly he knew that opera wasn't for everyone, but for everyone he hoped there was something.
As I touched the paper that unfolded, the incredible whiteness of it, I was more drawn towards the long song that I was sure I never heard before and would never again. The words did wel ...more
Anyway, I thought it was good. The characters were all likable and the story was engaging, if wholly improbable (Bel Canto could just as easily have been titled The Lighter Side of Stockholm Syndrome). My main problem with it was the w ...more
I have spent quite a while mulling this over, and have finally come to the conclusion that, patterned after Greek tragic opera or not, I can't forgive Ann Patchett for the climax of this novel. Much of that has to do with the beginning of the novel; I'd have been inclined to be more forgiving had the first hundred pages not moved at a snail's pace. But the book finally picked up, everything was going along swimmingly, and then, suddenly, bam-the most predict ...more
Instead, I will veil my head, lament the deaths of each person loved since the beginning of time, and cry tears of unsurpassed desolation in the hopes that tomorrow, the sun will shine on my face and god will see me standing there.
it isn't a good book for all the reasons everyone who gave it one star brings up. what is powerful about it is that the whole book is a tribute to womanhood. someone told me yesterday that everyone loves ...more
p.s. the book definitely takes place in peru.
But the writing was decent and I decided about a quarter of the way through I shouldn’t be too hard-hearted (and the book aim ...more
1. When an author loves her characters too much, the reader can often tell. Situations and descriptions seem contrived, and there is a veneer of (usually unintentional) dishonesty. But in Bel Canto, it's clear that Patchett is in love with her characters, yet she is able to remain objective and in control. Her role as the omniscient narrator allows her to ...more
What happens when terrorists take over a party held in honor of a Japanese businessman at the house of the Vice President of some unknown South American city? A translator is thankfully employed, a Diva is made to sing like a modern Scheherazade. Renaissance flourishes as these individuals in the most insane of circumstances come togeth ...more
The characters seem uniform (except for the Mr. Hosokowa). Somehow, they became flat. It feels like there's no distinction between gender eventually, and the small quirks that separate each person start to fade out under all the jabbering about the opera singer. Exhau ...more
Sometimes, when I finish a book, if I didn’t like it, I will usually have very concrete reasons why I did not. And sometimes I will have very concrete reasons why I did like a book. But often, as is the case ...more
The opening sequence is captivating, but from then on, the plot becomes scarce and progresses forward at a speed of a glacier. The usual character build-up gets nowhere. As a result, charac ...more
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She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."
Patchett attended hi ...more