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Among the hostages are not only Hosokawa and Roxane Coss, the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types. Reuben Iglesias, the diminutive and gracious vice president, quickly gets sideways of the kidnappers, who have no interest in him whatsoever. Meanwhile, a Swiss Red Cross negotiator named Joachim Messner is roped into service while vacationing. He comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands, and the days stretch into weeks, the weeks into months.
With the omniscience of magic realism, Ann Patchett flits in and out of the hearts and psyches of hostage and terrorist alike, and in doing so reveals a profound, shared humanity. Her voice is suitably lyrical, melodic, full of warmth and compassion. Hearing opera sung live for the first time, a young priest reflects:
Never had he thought, never once, that such a woman existed, one who stood so close to God that God's own voice poured from her. How far she must have gone inside herself to call up that voice. It was as if the voice came from the center part of the earth and by the sheer effort and diligence of her will she had pulled it up through the dirt and rock and through the floorboards of the house, up into her feet, where it pulled through her, reaching, lifting, warmed by her, and then out of the white lily of her throat and straight to God in heaven.Joined by no common language except music, the 58 international hostages and their captors forge unexpected bonds. Time stands still, priorities rearrange themselves. Ultimately, of course, something has to give, even in a novel so imbued with the rich imaginative potential of magic realism. But in a fractious world, Bel Canto remains a gentle reminder of the transcendence of beauty and love. --Victoria Jenkins --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
I read this book just a few pages at a time each night before bed to prolong my time with these characters. I did not want the book to end.Published 1 day ago by Kathy Millstein
I loved the way Ann Patchett developed and intertwined the characters. It was a little slow to get in to but once I did it was a beautiful story.Published 3 days ago by Donna Foster
A compelling read! I loved this book... the writing is exquisite.Published 3 days ago by Madalyn Hillis-Dineen
Beautifully written with just the right depth into each of the major characters. The sudden ending made my emotional air bags deploy.Published 8 days ago by Mary Houghton
In every sense of the word this novel captivates the reader. A mixture of good and evil plus normal emotions. Brilliant!Published 14 days ago by MLG
Have read this book previously but enjoyed it even more this time around.Published 15 days ago by Beatrice Muchman