Read Bel Canto Online Free - 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
|Number of Pages||:||352 pages|
March 23, 2009
This book came highly recommended, and once I started reading, I kept thinking I had already but couldn't, for the life of me, remember how it ended. Turns out, it only seemed familiar to me because it is based on a real life experience. In 1995, the president of Peru and many of his guests were...
September 26, 2017
Holy crap!! This "One-Dayer" deserves applause & praise & it will surely stay with you like some truly terrific (& best yet, catchy) song for days & days to come.
What happens when terrorists take over a party held in honor of a Japanese businessman at the house of the Vice Preside...
May 31, 2016
Let me preface this review by saying that I know this a disproportionately emotional review, but it's my review and my emotions and it is what it is.
In 1996, the home of the Japanese ambassador to Peru was taken hostage by guerillas during a party and held for 126 days until the home was raided b...
July 21, 2016
How did Patchett do this? A seemingly horrifying event turned into a mystical one. Where lines of good vs evil are blurred. Where time is suspended.
It's a birthday party gala in South America. The guest of honour, a powerful Japanese figurehead, almost didn't make it himself except for the sopran...
August 26, 2009
This is one of my top five favorite books. Bel Canto made me a devoted Patchett fan, although her other work hasn't quite stood up to the high expectations this one set for her. Just to set the scene, I read this book while on a three week trip through Europe. Travelling by train, I had plenty of...
February 09, 2017
Hauntingly beautiful story of a drawn out hostage situation based on real life event...
Ann Patchett's fourth novel is based on the Japanese embassy hostage crisis in Lima, Peru in 1996-7. Following is a link to a BBC article on this crisis.
***DO NOT READ link below IF you haven't read the book an...
May 12, 2017
To me, this book is luminous. Glorious. Magnificent. Perfect. (Well, almost perfect. I'll explain in a moment.)
I first read "Bel Canto" in 2005, and I was so absorbed in the story that I would sneak away from my desk at work just to have a few precious moments with it. The story opens with a reno...
September 18, 2017
Men of great importance were held hostage with a soprano. Until they realized how trivial their existences have been to the world and the world's to them. Men of different countries, men of different taste and language shut their eyes to the same beauty. Terrorists with gun earned sympathy worshi...
June 18, 2017
How could a wanna-read-bad TBR turn into a sorry-ass DNF?
WTF? DNF! OMG!
Who AM I? I finish every book I start, yet I did not finish this one! And I LOVE Ann Patchett! Her State of Wonder is one of my all-time favorite books! What the fuck is going on?
I’m having a serious crisis here. Have...
February 14, 2016
1.5 "overwrought, stereotypical, ridiculous" stars.
2015 Most Disappointing Read Award (tie)
Of all the books on my reading list, "Bel Canto" was one that I was most looking forward to. You see after my faith and my loved ones the thing I most adore is Opera.
Opera has been my passion, my solace,...