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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.
Not what I was imagining at all! 'A very interesting story line that you need to read until the very end!Published 2 days ago by Julie Dolbier
One review I read about this book said something about if you like music (opera) you will love this book. At least the reviewer was honest. I did not really like this book. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Brian H. Swarthout
Beautifully told story about what's really important in life. The characters are wonderful, the story gripping and lovely. Couldn't put this book down!Published 6 days ago by E's Mom
My favorite of Ann Patchett. The quality of writing and something about this story surpasses the other books I've read of hers by far. Read morePublished 9 days ago by E. Read
***Spoiler Alert*** I just finished Bel Canto and...I don't even know what to say. This book is beautiful and I was in love with it, and then it broke my heart. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Jess Hurst
If you are looking for a good book which will inspire you and give you joy, don't hesitate to read this one. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Bookwormy
I loved this book. It is well-written with memorable characters and just a touch of the magical realism that the South Americans are famous for. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Pat Chicago
Thoroughly enjoyed "bel canto" I couldn't put it down for long, kept wondering what was going to happen next.Published 14 days ago by Evelyn Mirabella
One cannot help but be drawn up into the characters in this amazing book. And one can almost hear the music that holds those characters together. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Amazon Customer