Bel Canto

Bel Canto

A Novel

Paperback - 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.
Published: New York : Harper Perennial, 2005, c2001.
Edition: First Harper Perennial edition.
ISBN: 9780060838720
Branch Call Number: F PAT
Characteristics: 318, 17 pages ;,21 cm.


From Library Staff

DBRL_IdaF Aug 10, 2017

Beautifully written. Interesting premise. In an unnamed South American country, a plot by rebels to kidnap the president goes as far awry as possible. The president is not in attendance at the party they crash with their guns and demands. What was meant to be a quick in-and-out kidnapping turns i... Read More »

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AL_ANNAL Feb 02, 2018

Humane,funny, tragic and beautifully written. One of my all time favorite books!

Dec 20, 2017

Meh. I found it sort of tedious. I finished the book and liked the ending but it kind of went on and on and on and on...I think it will be a rare happening where the upcoming movie will be better than the book!

Dec 04, 2017

This beautiful book surprised me from beginning to end. All in all refreshing and the writing is fabulous.

Oct 25, 2017

This was my second book by the author. The first, Commonwealth, was difficult to get through. Thumbs down. But I gave her another chance when I picked up this one.

It ran smoother, and until the last few paragraphs of the last chapter (of the main book...not the epilogue) it was wonderful. I knew the end would be tragic, and it was, BUT the epilogue was out of left field. Heck, it was from a different planet! I had to go online to see if I was the only one confused. I'm not. The sudden marriage between two characters who had affairs with others during the hostage part makes no sense. None. Not even if I take the whole novel symbolically.

I kept thinking maybe Roxanne was pregnant with Hosokawa's baby, so Gen married her out of Japanese respect. Pregnancy wasn't even alluded to.

Nope. I am done with this author.

DBRL_IdaF Aug 10, 2017

Beautifully written. Interesting premise. In an unnamed South American country, a plot by rebels to kidnap the president goes as far awry as possible. The president is not in attendance at the party they crash with their guns and demands. What was meant to be a quick in-and-out kidnapping turns into a months-long hostage situation, with several young rebel soldiers guarding an international contingent of politicians and businessmen, plus one opera diva and a very overworked translator. As time drags on, alliances and bonds are forged, with a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome settling down on everyone.

Despite the guns and military element, this is much more a character drama than an action novel. The characters learn a lot about themselves as they grow and change in response to their unusual situation.

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.

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.

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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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