My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Buy Borrow Bypass
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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 guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.
But what begins as a life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different. 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.
Ann Patchett has written a novel that is as lyrical and profound as it is unforgettable. Bel Canto is a virtuoso performance by one of our best and most important writers.
It’s difficult to describe the plot of Bel Canto. Ann Patchett certainly knows how to write a layered story! Yes, Bel Canto is about a terrorist plot. But by the end of the novel, this is a story about love, friendship, and joy. This shift occurs slowly over the course of the story and happens for the reader just as it does for the characters. In this way, Patchett allows the reader to imagine what the reader might feel if they were either one of the hostages or terrorists in this book.
I adored almost every character in Bel Canto. My favorite, of course, was Gen the translator. I don’t see how anyone could read this book and not adore Gen! Patchett’s choice to include so many languages in her plot and a first-rate translator presented many entertaining and beautiful challenges. And of course, I fell madly in love with Roxanne and Mr. Hosokawa. Despite their language barrier, these two are warm, considerate, and beautiful people. I enjoyed reading how their relationship changed over the course of the story.
Bel Canto has many layers, and stories evolve as Patchett focuses on different characters at various times throughout the novel. Each sentence is so perfectly worded. It’s clear that Patchett poured a great deal of thought into every single word choice. I also love the title of this novel. Bel Canto, of course, refers to Roxanne’s singing, but I think it applies to every character, as well, not just ones who can sing. Bel Canto seems to apply to everyone with a voice, or a dream, or a wish. It’s something about pure intentions.
Overall, I loved this book! Bel Canto is my first book by Patchett and I’m greatly looking forward to reading more of her backlist. I devoured this book but also never wanted it to end! I recognize that I’m a little late to the game with this one but I’m so pleased I finally read it and I encourage everyone to pick it up. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
This book is…
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Page Count: 318
Available here from IndieBound.
Have you read Bel Canto? What other Ann Patchett novels would you recommend?