This beautiful book by Ann Patchett begins with a lavish party, set in an unspecified South American country, hosted by the government’s vice president. The entertainment, world-renown opera singer, Roxane Coss, has drawn guests from all over the world, filling the room with innumerable languages, contrasting cultures, and of course, bel canto, Italian for “beautiful singing”.
But before the night is over, the party is taken over by a group of ragtag terrorists who, in a misguided attempt at leverage, decide to hold the guests hostage. After a few days, things begin to take an unexpected turn. As the terrorists and hostages get to know each other, the barrier that separates them begins to crumble.
Bel Canto transports you into another world and, similarly to its characters, holds you captive long after you’ve read the last page. Full of emotion and romance, it reads as a love letter to language, music, and the human spirit. I may have been late to the Ann Patchett train, but now I’m on and I’m all in!
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