Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening -- until a band of gun wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.
Pages: 318 (paperback)
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
I read Bel Canto by Ann Patchett for the second meeting in October of the public library book club I joined. Prior to reading the book, I had heard that it was an unlikely engaging tale; I totally agree with that assessment. While it took me over a month to write my review, the story has stayed with me. Questions about the enemy and the search for meaning are explored. The characters are transformed, some by what they shed and others by what the acquire. All engage in a bit of daydream where the lines between terrorist and hostage are blurred. When I finished the book on the commuter rail, I had to stare out the window to keep people from seeing me cry. The book finished as strongly as it started. While some in my book club were not pleased with the ending, I liked it. I wish that I could follow the characters for a bit longer to see what becomes of them.