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Bel Canto: The best selling Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and author of The Dutch House by [Ann Patchett]
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Bel Canto: The best selling Winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction and author of The Dutch House Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 4,310 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author


ANN PATCHETT is the author of eight novels, four works of nonfiction, and two children's books. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner, the Women's Prize in the U.K., and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her most recent novel, The Dutch House, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. TIME magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books.

--This text refers to the audioCD edition.

Amazon.com Review

In an unnamed South American country, a world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. His hosts hope that Mr. Hosokawa can be persuaded to build a factory in their Third World backwater. Alas, in the opening sequence, just as the accompanist kisses the soprano, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, things go awry.

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 an alternate kindle_edition edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B084KJT5PG
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Fourth Estate; New Ed edition (February 27, 2020)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ February 27, 2020
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1140 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 331 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 1841155837
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 4,310 ratings

Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
4,310 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on November 13, 2017
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Top reviews from other countries

Artemis
1.0 out of 5 stars One of those Marmite novels: love it or hate it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2016
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Janie U
5.0 out of 5 stars Not sure how I missed this when it came out and will now recommend to everyone
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 18, 2020
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X70DEV
4.0 out of 5 stars More Kathrine Jenkins than Maria Callas
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2020
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Titania78
4.0 out of 5 stars Ann Patchett singing to a different tune
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 11, 2020
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Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenally good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 27, 2020
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