Bel Canto

Bel Canto

A Novel

Book - 2005
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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-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and 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.
Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, c2005
Edition: 1st Harper Perennial ed
ISBN: 9780060838720
Branch Call Number: FICTION PATCHETT 2005
Characteristics: 318, 16 p. ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

2004: At several points in this book about a hostage-taking, I went looking for someone to read aloud to - the language was that beautiful. This is one of my favorites from Patchett, though Run and State of Wonder are up there too.

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Mar 26, 2017

Loved it! Bel Canto has as its premise a massive international hostage-taking, but with an huge heart that symbolizes all humanity in microcosm. Like a dream, the slow pace depicts the characters as “who they are” and gradually peels and reveals layer upon layer, begging the question: what’s real? Patchett brilliantly folds a terrifying situation in on itself, allowing individual inner growth and bonding amongst the unlikeliest of characters – an exultation of our shared humanity. Then she balances it with page-turning flares of viciousness and panic. Loved it.

Mar 16, 2017

A beautiful written story to make believe, but I only escaped to it for a few moments. I were like Messner (though I didn't want to rescue them as much as they'd done to themselves), come and go, visiting mankind awaken to frolic in Garden of Eden, a united nation strangled in a mansion to oblivion and progress to a utopia.
It was a fine poetic beginning, but when the main thoroughfare led nowhere, dragged from 24hr to a couple weeks and months, I was merely content with multitude of numbing transiencies.
Then I was stunned by the ending, the brilliant part of the book.

Dec 28, 2016

Beautiful, moving and one of my favourite books.

Oct 15, 2016

Very well written and I agree that it felt like its own universe. The gradually growing empathy for the terrorists was the most intriguing part about this story. I did not find it romantic in the slightest, however. The women in the story were treated like objects (on a pedestal, to be worshipped for their beauty and talent) rather than persons, which makes for a strange concept of intimacy and relationships.

ehbooklover Sep 18, 2016

This book had been in my TBR list for a while now. I have always been intrigued by its concept and had heard wonderful things about it from coworkers and friends. They were right! I really enjoyed it. A unique and beautifully written story full of wonderful characters that kept me engaged and invested in the outcome until the very last page.

Aug 25, 2016

This was my first Patchett book; I was underwhelmed. Great story line, some memorable characters. But it seemed to me the point of the story was emerging awareness of everyday ecstasy when we stop/slow down. That has value, but to describe that clarity with too many words seems to miss the point. A hundred fewer pages would have made a better book.

Jul 25, 2016

This was a well written, engaging story. I would have liked to see a note by the author about the real events the fictional book was based upon.

Incredible masterpiece. Patchett is a one of our great author talents!

Jan 09, 2016

The story line and the characters are likable. Very intense plot with a hostage setting. The reader learns about many of the characters. Violence and language warning. This is a memorable story.

Sep 02, 2015

This novel is very moving and thought provoking. I strongly believe in the calming, soothing and healing power of music. Music transcends language barriers and brings people together. Music plays a pivotal role in this novel. I see this story as a parable of how people from different cultures and of different politics can co-exist peacefully when they get to know each other and give each other a chance. It is also about finding your niche in life. The hostages bonded with their captors, which sometimes happens in actual cases. Patchett has a creative style and her characters emotions and observations were interesting. There was some ethnic stereotyping in the book.

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BostonPL_AnnaD Aug 29, 2015

BostonPL_AnnaD thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Nov 26, 2013

Based on the Lima Crisis, this book is about a group of terrorists who hold high executives and people of high political standing hostage. It explores how the terrorists and hostages cope with living in a house together for several months. Many of the characters form unbreakable bonds of friendship, while some fall in love.


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Sep 08, 2011

All of the love and the longing a body can contain was spun into not more than two and a half minutes of song, and when she came to the highest notes it seemed that all they had been given in their lives and all they had lost came together and made a weight that was almost impossible to bear.


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