Book Review: Bel Canto

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

Book: Bel Canto


Author: Ann Patchett


Genre: Fiction/Based on Real Events


Summary: Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in the 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. 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. - Harper Collins, 2001.



I know the popularity this book has received in the past. I received this text as free one when I was attending my Publishing Institute. Even so, I could not help but not be affected by it as others were.


As always, reviews are spoiler free.


There's not much to say about this book that hasn't already been said, I'm sure. I'm not sure what to feel about it. It's a very well-written book and the plot is interesting to be sure. At first, I was worried as I began reading because it suggested it was going to be in the style of Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, which I didn't enjoy at all. I don't like stream of consciousness narratives. My co-worker told me to keep going and give it a try just the same. I did so and found that while it is a stream of consciousness novel, it's not on the level of Woolf, thankfully. There's more action and less thought.


The story, as I said, is interesting, and I like that Patchett doesn't "tell" everything that happens within the novel. I also find it interesting that she doesn't come out and say whether or not the hostages suffer from Stockholm Syndrome or if it's simple survivor's instinct. Maybe it's both. Maybe it's none. She doesn't state what the psychological state of the characters is, leaving the reader to decide. It's a choice that I appreciate.


Otherwise, it's a good story. It's very well-written and I enjoyed it for what it was. I may not read any of her other works due to her style, but I enjoyed reading at least one of her books.


I give Bel Canto an A-.




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