Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

When the Lights went off the accompanist kissed her.

Title: Bel Canto
Author: Ann Patchett
ISBN: 0060934417
Publisher: Perennial/2001
Pages: 318

One of those books which defies description. Mainstay of this book are music, beauty in the unlikeliest of places and bonding between people as varied as air and water, maybe the sky thrown in.

It is about a kidnapping gone horribly wrong. The terrorists wanted to kidnap the President. However, he is at home watching an episode of a daily soap. For that he missed the greatest Opera Singer Roxane Coss, who had been called to sing for a Japanese businessman, Mr Hosokawa.

So now the terrorists have no president but around 200 unwanted hostages. For a moment they don't know what to do. Next morning they release most of the hostages, all women except for Roxane Coss. They think her presence would help them in their demands. The demands are not clear, they goals are not clear and best part is, they are in no hurry to kill anyone.

Slowly the hostages too relax and a bonding is formed between the terrorists and hostages. Most speak different languages and hence Gen, an interpreter is much in demand as he can speak several languages. Then it is discovered that there are two girls terrorists too. In all this, we can see people falling in love even though they know there is no future. There are endearing characters like the Opera Singer Roxane Coss, Vice-President Ruben Iglesias, Japanese Businessman Mr Hosokawa, and French Ambassador Simon Thibault.

For all the good rapport between the terrorists and the hostages, the end of their relationship is inevitable tragic. Even I was surprised by the ending. I wasn't expecting it. It only shows that love can be found anywhere. And music can overcome anything.

With wit, subtle irony, comic tragedy, this book is a must read. Go for it!


Meghan said...

I loved this book too. I thought the ending made it better; it captured that precious atmosphere the prisoners created and made it complete, showing us how wrong the outside world was. Great review!

Sassy Brit @ said...

I haven't read it, but it does sound very interesting, I like books like this.

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Thanks for such a wonderful blog!


serendipity_viv said...

It sounds like an unusual story line. It can't be a good ending then if we are mixing terrorists and hostages. I have all sorts of bad images flowing through my brain for this one.

Harvee said...

I read this by chance - my son left it at home and I picked it up and read it. What a lucky find! Glad you liked it too!

bermudaonion said...

I've heard others say this is a good book, so I'm adding it to my wish list. Great review.

ANovelMenagerie said...

I have it in my TBR pile... it's going to be read one of these days!

Literary Feline said...

I've been really wanting to read this one. I am glad you liked it!

Kathleen said...

Thank you for your review. I have been following your blog for over a year and have enjoyed it tremendously. I have had Bel Canto on my TBR pile for quite some time and reading your review has reminded me that I need to get around to reading it soon!

Unknown said...

I loved this book. So much so that I was hesitant to pick up any of her other books until my book club chose Run. It's a far cry from Bel Canto, but it's also a wonderful books. We all loved it.

I have a review up at my blog if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read this but it sounds very interesting. Might have to put this one on my TBR list, which has been growing and growing since I started a book blog!!

I've given you an award. Please stop by and pick it up HERE

JoAnn said...

I liked this book a lot too, but my favorite Ann Patchett book is The Magician's Assistant. Great review!

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I read this book several years ago and liked it. I heard the author interviewed (on a radio program) and she said it had been optioned for an opera. Interesting, isn't it? I think it would be a fantastic opera! I haven't heard anything in the last couple of years about it though. Glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

I loved this book when I read it. Great review!

Sandra said...

Great review. This was one of my top reads the year it came out. I will read it again too. I'm so glad you liked it.

Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books said...

One of my favorite books. Ever.

Definitely my favorite Patchett book.

Your review is perfect: "read it. now"

The Reading Momster said...

awesome! I will get to it! :)

Icedream said...

I am also a huge fan of this book. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

ibeeeg said...

Great review. I have heard of this book but have not seriously thought of reading it until now.
I am going to put it on my TBR list.

Anna said...

I've had my eye on this book ever since I read Patchett's Run. Glad to hear you enjoyed it.

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