Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Bel Canto (P.S.) Paperback – Deckle Edge, June 10, 2008
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
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.
From Library Journal
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 75%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.
For thousands of qualifying books, your past, present, and future print-edition purchases now lets you buy the Kindle edition for $2.99 or less. (Textbooks available for $9.99 or less.)
Top Customer Reviews
Take the Russian minister of commerce--portrayed as something of a buffoon who has fallen in love with Roxane, the opera singer. He screws up his courage to declare himself--which must be done through Gen, the translator. What he says to her is completely unexpected--a wonderful story of his childhood and an art book. He declares himself a man who appreciates beauty and therefore worthy to love her, and asks nothing in return. Meanwhile we see into the heart of Gen the translator, as he awkwardly acts as intermediary he realizes he has never told anyone that he loves them, not a woman, not family, not his mother--he feels as if his life has been to act as a conduit for the thoughts and feelings of others, that he has never experienced a real life of his own. Then there is the relationship of Mr. Hosokawa and Roxane, who do not share a common language. Is it possible to love a person to whom you cannot speak?
I loved the transformation of the characters that occurs--the Vice President of the country dreams of adopting one of the young terrorists and becoming a gardener, another terrorist uncovers his great gift as a singer, a buttoned up Japanese businessman becomes Roxane's accompianist, the young priest becomes a gifted and courageous spiritual counselor.Read more ›
In terms of style and texture, Patchett has endeavored to compose a work that is lyrical and "magical," and she largely succeeds in creating an ethereal, dreamlike mood throughout. As such, however, the degree to which readers ultimately will embrace the novel depends upon their willingness to engage in a "willing suspension of disbelief." Those possessed of any significant degree of skepticism regarding the actual nature of political struggle, small group social psychology, and human behavior generally will find much about which to be dubious, beginning with the notion that ALL of the guerrillas would be mesmerized by Roxanne Coss' operatic singing. They also will look askance at the romantic interludes portrayed here, including the prospect of romance between a superstar American singer and a staid Japanese businessman. Furthermore, the lack of substantive political content is striking and to me, disappointing.Read more ›
Patchett, in a display of literary virtuosity, brings the characters in "Bel Canto" to brilliant life. With wit, humor and pathos, the author shows how living in close quarters with strangers sometimes brings out the best in people. Mr. Hosokawa, who is usually a businesslike automaton, blossoms into a sensitive and caring individual under the influence of Roxanne and her lovely music. Gen Watanable, who is Hosokawa's translator and secretary, falls in love with one of the female revolutionaries, and his life also takes off in unexpected directions.
Patchett touches on many themes in "Bel Canto," such as the power of glorious music to touch our souls and the importance of seeking beauty and romance in our lives. Since the world we live in is sometimes a barbaric place, it is not always possible for peace and love to flourish. Therefore, Patchett seems to be saying, it is vital to seize those rare moments in our lives when we can enjoy everything that is wonderful and amazing around us. "Bel Canto" is marred by a pace that is a bit too leisurely and by a somewhat unsatisfying conclusion.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful journey through the unreality of living as hostages and hostage takers. Unreality becomes the best reality for all of them. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Suzanne M. Yuskiw
Masterful writing; clearly develops multiple characters and their internal motivations and their external web of highly compressed interrelationships. A pure joy to read. Read morePublished 1 day ago by efud
Another of my favorite books. Extremely well written, the character and plot development keep you on the edge, and the ending ....ooh. But that would be telling. Read it!Published 3 days ago by D.K. McCutchen
A beautifully written, highly original story about the power of beauty and love.Published 4 days ago by J and V
Actually this was a gift. I read it years ago and remains one of my favorite reads. And I'm a big fan of the author.Published 6 days ago by erwink617
I liked that Bel Canto is based on an ambitious idea and contains some gorgeous writing. It meets well the challenge of setting a whole book "in a locked room" so to speak,... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Deuxchatsnoirs
I am unfamiliar with the author's work besides this one. The plot was fantastical and unlikely. I admit that I'm not a big opera buff, but I don't dislike it. Read morePublished 9 days ago by M. Ford