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Bel Canto

A Novel
Patchett, Ann (Book Club Kit - 2001 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Bel Canto

Item Details

Authors: Patchett, Ann
Title: Bel canto
a novel
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins, c2001
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 10 books (318 p., 18 p.; 22 cm.), 1 reading guide in a plastic tote
Notes: Kit contains 10 copies of the title
Kit checks out for 6 weeks and cannot be renewed
Replacement for kit is $150.00
Awards & Distinctions: WCLS Books in a Box
Branch Call Number: FICTION
Statement of Responsibility: by Ann Patchett
Subject Headings: Women singers Fiction Victims of terrorism Fiction Embassy buildings Fiction Hostages Fiction South America Fiction
Genre/Form: Psychological fiction
Love stories
Topical Term: Women singers
Victims of terrorism
Embassy buildings
WCLS Book Club Kit
Reading group books
LCCN: 00053671
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Jun 19, 2014
  • barkylee15 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is a book that I consistently go back to for recommendations for patrons. Ann Patchett writes beautifully, and "Bel Canto" in particular is very compelling with it's vast cast of characters and their various ambitions and agendas. It was so interesting to read how these people were able to get along with such large language barriers. The ending was heartbreaking, and the epilogue was a bit frustrating, but for the most part I loved this novel and highly recommend it.

Sep 17, 2013
  • spark92 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I read this back in high school. Really good and really interesting evolving characters.

Sep 17, 2013
  • agbookclub2 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

The Angus Glen Book Club read this book as their September 2013 title. Everyone enjoyed the characters, writing style and story. They would recommend this read.

A friend recommended this book years ago and I loved it! I read some of the comments and just wanted to add mine let's not forget that it's fiction.

Jul 20, 2013
  • Cecilturtle rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A book about love, friendship and impossibilities, with a translator and an opera singer: it couldn't have better united my two passions, language and music! I loved that this was really about human relationships, regardless of language and culture, that we can all connect at the deepest level around beauty, understanding and patience. It's interesting that the political and religious barriers that we construct are the ones to which we attach the most importance and in this artificial environment, Patchett was able to demonstrate the depth of the human soul, if only we had the time and the leisure... the ending is both dreadful and brilliant (although I could have done without the epilogue), an inevitable conclusion to this social experiment.
Definitely a must read.

In a secret, impoverished, unnamed Spanish speaking country (South American-ish) there is an inappropriately grandiloquent Birthday Gala. The guests are an international flock, (Russians, Frenchies and Germans oh my!) Business men, entrepreneurs, money-makers, visionaries, opportunists, music aficionados, priests and an elegant operatic diva. It is succulent, opulent, over the top...until the moment of the kiss and the ending of the light. They have been attacked by an uprising of rebels, kidnapped. It becomes a story of two sides. The Terrorists and the Hostages. This author was outstanding in offering me an invitation to sit at the table. I was right there, right away, witnessing the trials, confusion, control, compassion, miasma and mayhem. I jumped into this book with ease and walked through quickly. A unique tale. 4.5 stars for me. Took me well beyond Stockholm Syndrome and into the realm of truth, music, and the ties that find and bind the human heart. We are surrounded by worn boots, Tchaikovsky, tall grasses, uncooked chickens, machine guns, Verdi, last rights, St Rose, blood, chess, Rusalka and love. A good summer time read. Highly recommended.

Jul 04, 2013
  • SGHanrahan rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I read Bel Canto in 2010, I remember it fondly as one of the best books I've ever read. There is tension in every page and it's beautifully written.

This is one of the best books I've ever read. It has passion, humor, an interesting & engaging story & the writing is just SO beautiful.

Jun 24, 2013
  • Joanie360 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Makes you laugh and cry. You know it can't end well, and yet you hope it will have a happy ending. Spoiler alert: it doesn't end happily.

Jun 17, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Somewhere in South America, a lavish birthday party, complete with opera’s most revered soprano, is being held in honour of a powerful Japanese businessman. It is a perfect evening, until terrorists break in and take the entire party hostage. What begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario gradually evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds, and people from different countries and continents become compatriots. Without the demands of the world to shape their days, life on the inside becomes more beautiful than anything they had ever known before. A moving exploration of how people communicate when music is the only common language.

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Based on the Lima Crisis, this book is about a group of terrorists who hold high executives and people of high political standing hostage. It explores how the terrorists and hostages cope with living in a house together for several months. Many of the characters form unbreakable bonds of friendship, while some fall in love.


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Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

All of the love and the longing a body can contain was spun into not more than two and a half minutes of song, and when she came to the highest notes it seemed that all they had been given in their lives and all they had lost came together and made a weight that was almost impossible to bear.


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