Wednesday, July 01, 2009

BEL CANTO, Ann Patchett

BEL CANTO, Ann Patchett


In a South American country, a world-renowned soprano is persuaded to sing at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese businessman. The guest of honor is an opera lover and admires this soprano in particular.

As the party begins, terrorists enter the vice-president's home through the air conditioning ducts. Their aim is to kidnap the president, who has, unfortunately for them, stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. And thus, from the beginning, their scheme and everything else goes wrong.

Among the hostages are not only the Japanese businessman and the American soprano, but an assortment of Russian, Italian, and French officials. The interactions between various characters makes this novel exciting, touching and compelling.

You might think you know how this novel will play out, but it is full of surprises. It is one of my favorite books of recent years. The writing is wonderful, the characters real, the plot believable. Anything by Ann Patchett is wonderful, but BEL CANTO is my favorite.

Check out Barrie Summy for other choices.

14 comments:

Sarah Laurence said...

This was one of my favorite novels. You capture the story so well and brought it back to me. Great review!

George said...

My wife and her book club read BEL CANTO last year and loved it. They thought it was Ann Patchett's best book, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

hum, definitely sounds intriguing. This would not be a book I would imagine I'd like, but you make it sound interesting.

Scott Parker said...

I have been aware of this book since its publication. It's intrigued me but I've never quite got to it. I like the premise and especially the South American setting. I just checked Audible: the book is available on audio. I think it just moved up on my list.

David Cranmer said...

This was a superb book that I read straight through. A real page turner as they say.

Linda McLaughlin said...

Bel Canto is a favorite of several of my friends at my library reading group. I think they told me too much about, though, for me to read it, so there's not enough suspense to keep me wondering what will happen. You did a good job of reviewing the book without giving away the details.

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Hi Patti,

Thanks for an intro to Bel Canto.

Terrie

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Thanks. Bel Canto has been in TBR pile forever. Like Scott I've been interested but never gotten around to it. Now I will.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Thanks. Bel Canto has been in TBR pile forever. Like Scott I've been interested but never gotten around to it. Now I will.

Kathy Holmes said...

Must look into this - love international locales - sounds like a movie.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I saw this book at the bookstore and wondered about it--I didn't have time to pick it up with my two boys in tow.

It sounds like an excellent book that would also translate well into a movie. Thanks for the review!

Barrie said...

I'm moving Bel Canto up in my TBR pile. Thank you!

Todd Mason said...

Ann Patchett on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED today, recounting how at a garden party how she'd mentioned that one song always reminded her of summer...even though it wasn't a summer song: "One Bad Apple" as recorded by the Jackson 5. In response, one of the other guests leaned forward and whipered, "Osmonds." And Patchett remembered that she'd been listening to a Lot more Osmonds as suburban/small town kid in the plains, than she had Jackson 5, even if that song had been written with the Jacksons in mind and that Osmonds recording was perhaps their closest approach to sounding like the other family band.

Patchett, unsurprisingly, told the story very well. I laughed, and was reminded of the interchangeable cartoon series "featuring" both bands in the early '70s...

Sarahlynn said...

I love that the aim is to kidnap the President . . . who stays home to watch a telenovella. Lovely beginning.