When I first read Bel Canto 15 years ago, I picked it up randomly because I thought the premise sounded interesting. It hadn't made the best seller lists or reviews by any magazine or newspapers. It was just a lucky purchase. I was simply captivated by the story, the writing and kindness exhibited by the characters. I lent the book to all my friends and relatives who also loved it.
But this book, as well as all the others I've read by Ms Patchett remind me of M. Night Shyamalan and his first movie, the Sixth Sense. It had a great concept and a fabulous ending that kept the whole family talking about it for days.
What do this book and movie have in common? To me, they both feel like a one and done. Their first efforts were worthy and wonderful. Everything since then has been a disappointment.
I fell asleep every time I sat down to read this book . Then I started skimming pages just to see if anything, anything at all would happen. But no. Just more of Danny sitting with his sister in a car in front of their childhood home reminiscing about all that happened to them. I've never been so bored by a book in my life. This was just a long, dull read by an author who gets fabulous reviews: heartbreaking, engrossing, one of her best, etc. Why did I spend 3 nights slogging through this dreary book? Because it was by the famous and revered Ann Patchett. But now I'm forever done with her novels - just like I'm done with movies by M. Night Shyamalan.