Tag Archives: Bel Canto

Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)

Bel canto : a novelBel Canto by Ann Patchett
Age: Adult
Genre: Fiction
Source: My Copy
Publisher: Harper, 2001
ISBN: 9780060934417 / 318 pages
Find this book at your local library 

In South America, at the home of the country’s Vice President, a special birthday party is being held for Japanese business man, Mr. Hosokawa. The main event is a special musical performance by operatic star Roxane Coss. But before the night end, a renegade group storms into the home, taking all of the guests hostage. When their initial plans fails, the militia group has to rethink their plan, all the while holding hostage Roxane Coss and all the men of the party for over 4 months. During the time spent in the home, new friendships are forged in the most unlikely of places between the most unlikely of people.

The plot is ridiculously slow-moving, like molasses. It is sort of balanced with Patchett’s eloquent prose. I like the characters, each was unique and special and wholly different from the rest. This book required 2 major suspensions of disbelief, which for me drained the book of much substance. 1. Being held hostage for so long 2. The ending! The ending made me so mad. It was predictable, but the epilogue just took me by shock.

The relationships the hostages made with their captors seemed plausible, very Stockholm syndrome. As a character study, this book excels. In regards to plot…it missed its mark for me. It is a winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award, and I bumped into a gentleman on the bus who said he really enjoyed this book. I still stand firmly in the middle. I didn’t realize it was possible to love the characters and the character development while simultaneously hating the plot and the length of the novel.