Aaron's Reviews > Bel Canto

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
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's review
Aug 07, 2007

it was ok
Recommended for: NPR listeners who secretly want to read a romance novel
Read in March, 2003

A novel about a hostage crisis that goes wrong -- with very sexy results, Bel Canto might have been a better read if at some point Patchett did anything to acknowledge the plot's ridiculousness. Instead, she treats the readers to vague social commentary about South America, multiple nobel savage tropes, and a crisis situation where people do have sex, but only after first taking the time to fall in love. It's also somewhat about opera, so allow me the metaphor that Bel Canto hits all the obvious notes with competence but without ever risking enough to engage the audience.

Not to be a pure hater, I did love the hell out of the cover art.
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Reading Progress

02/28/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8)

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message 8: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Laura you are totally right on about all these comments! i was scrolling through the comments to find a dissenter. i was nice about the book because i enjoyed reading it on a plane, and i thought that topically the political message was a "nice" one, but thanks for calling it out for its refusal to wade farther than the shallow end.

Annie Hell yes that was great cover art!

Snowy Why does everything have to be realistic? Books are used to escape the world, and if we are trying to find the reality, then what world are we truly escaping to?

message 5: by Lisa (new) - rated it 1 star

Lisa I love who you recommend this book to and I appreciate your review. Honestly, it was a breath of fresh air because I thought i was going crazy for a moment scrolling through all these reviews. Ann Patchett actually got on my nerves during some points of this book and i think I was annoyed because it could have been interesting rather than trite. Thanks for your review.

Nicole I think it was well done, but the very end was a complete cop out. I'm going to avoid spoiling as much as possible here, but seriously, these two showed very little connection throughout the book, which leads me to think they ended up together for the wrong reasons. I think I would have felt better without it.

Emily True enough. But then instead of being an opera, it would have been a documentary. The epilogue was unnecessary.

message 2: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Ogden I agree. I couldn't even finish it. I just constantly felt like it was trying too hard to be a great book but not hitting the mark.

Margali Ea Agreed! The book ultimately bored me, trying to rest on the laurels of character development because let's face it there's no plot of note between 25% to 85% of the novel. Unfortunately the characters don't extrude beyond screenplay characters, at best. However I did cast Bernadette Peters as Roxane Coss.

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