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Cover image for Bel canto : a novel
Format:
Title:
Bel canto : a novel
ISBN:
9780060188733

9780060934415

9780060838720

9780061565311

9780061719868

9781841155821

9781841155838
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, ©2001.
Physical Description:
318 pages ; 25 cm
Summary:
Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. 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 breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader Grades 9-12 6.3 19 Quiz 155131 English fiction.
Holds:

Available:*

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Patchett, A.
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FIC PATCHETT
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FICTION - PATCHETT
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PATCHETT
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FICTION PATCHETT
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Patchett
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On Order

Summary

Summary

Now a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe.

"Blissfully Romantic....A strange, terrific, spellcasting story." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"Bel Canto...should be on the list of every literate music lover. The story is riveting, the participants breathe and feel and are alive, and throughout this elegantly-told novel, music pours forth so splendidly that the reader hears it and is overwhelmed by its beauty." --Lloyd Moss, WXQR

"Glorious." --The New Yorker

Ann Patchett's award winning, New York Times bestselling Bel Canto balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language. As in Patchett's other novels, including Truth & Beauty and The Magician's Assistant, the author's lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance.


Author Notes

Ann Patchett was born on December 2, 1963. She received the Orange Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 2002 for her novel Bel Canto. Her other novels include The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician's Assistant, and State of Wonder. She has also written several nonfiction works including Truth and Beauty: A Friendship, The Getaway Car, The Bookshop Strikes Back, and This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

Ann's title's Commonweatlth and The Patron Saint of Liars made the New York Time bestseller list.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

As her readers now eagerly anticipate, Patchett (The Magician's Assistant) can be counted on to deliver novels rich in imaginative bravado and psychological nuance. This fluid and assured narrative, inspired by a real incident, demonstrates her growing maturity and mastery of form as she artfully integrates a musical theme within a dramatic story. Celebrated American soprano Roxane Coss has just finished a recital in the home of the vice-president of a poor South American country when terrorists burst in, intent on taking the country's president hostage. The president, however, has not attended the concert, which is a birthday tribute in honor of a Japanese business tycoon and opera aficionado. Determined to fulfill their demands, the rough, desperate guerrillas settle in for a long siege. The hostages, winnowed of all women except Roxane, whose voice beguiles her captors, are from many countries; their only common language is a love of opera. As the days drag on, their initial anguish and fear give way to a kind of complex domesticity, as intricately involved as the melodies Roxane sings during their captivity. While at first Patchett's tone seems oddly flippant and detached, it soon becomes apparent that this light note is an introduction to her main theme, which is each character's cathartic experience. The drawn-out hostage situation comes to seem normal, even halcyon, until the inevitable rescue attempt occurs, with astonishing consequences. Patchett proves equal to her themes; the characters' relationships mirror the passion and pain of grand opera, and readers are swept up in a crescendo of emotional fervor. 8-city author tour. (June) Forecast: Opera can be a tough sell, and though the musical theme is deftly integrated, this book may have a harder time catching readers' interest than did Patchett's first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. Positive critical response should attract attention, however. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Kirkus Review

Combining an unerring instinct for telling detail with the broader brushstrokes you need to tackle issues of culture and politics, Patchett (The Magician’s Assistant, 1997, etc.) creates a remarkably compelling chronicle of a multinational group of the rich and powerful held hostage for months. An unnamed impoverished South American country hopes to woo business from a rich Japanese industrialist, Mr. Hosokawa, by hosting a birthday party at which his favorite opera singer, Roxane Coss, entertains. Because the president refuses to miss his soap opera, the vice-president hosts the party. An invading band of terrorists, who planned to kidnap the president, find themselves instead with dozens of hostages on their hands. They free the less important men and all the women except Roxane. As the remaining hostages and their captors settle in, Gen, Mr. Hosokawa’s multilingual translator, becomes the group’s communication link, Roxane and her music its unifying heart. Patchett weaves individual histories of the hostages and the not-so-terrifying terrorists within a tapestry of their present life together. The most minor character breathes with life. Each page is dense with incident, the smallest details magnified by the drama of the situation and by the intensity confinement always creates. The outside world recedes as time seems to stop; the boundaries between captive and captor blur. In pellucid prose, Patchett grapples with issues of complexity and moral ambiguity that arise as confinement becomes not only a way of life but also for some, both hostage and hostage-taker, a life preferable to their previous existence. Readers may intellectually reject the author’s willingness to embrace the terrorists’ humanity, but only the hardest heart will not succumb. Conventional romantic love also flowers, between Gen and Carmen, a beguilingly innocent terrorist, between Mr. Hosokawa and Roxane. Even more compelling are the protective, almost familial affections that arise, the small acts of kindness in what is, inevitably, a tragedy. Brilliant. Author tour


Booklist Review

Readers curious about the emotional flow between hostages and their takers should cotton to this novel based on the 1996 Tupac Amaru takeover of the Japanese ambassadorial residence in Lima, Peru. It traces the hostages' adjusting attitudes during the torpor of a months-long siege. Relief from their tedium takes the form of luscious world-class soprano Roxane Coss, who had been entertaining an international assortment of diplomats and businesspersons when the terrorists took the Peruvian vice president's house. Everybody loves her, eventually--a Russian diplomat, the Japanese tycoon who paid for her performance, one of the teenage hostage-takers, and so on. The medium for all professions of admiration and love is polylingual Gen Watanabe. As Watanabe flits from conversation to conversation, Patchett develops the characters' thoughts. Watanabe, for example, takes a shine to a child-soldier terrorist, Carmen, who comes to share the fate of an operatic earlier bearer of her name. Unhurriedly, even languorously, Patchett brings readers into the minds of the characters. --Gilbert Taylor


Library Journal Review

Opera and terrorism make strange bedfellows, yet in this novel they complement each other nicely. At a birthday party for Japanese industrialist Mr. Hosokawa somewhere in South America, famous American soprano Roxanne Coss is just finishing her recital in the Vice President's home when armed terrorists appear, intending to take the President hostage. However, he is not there, so instead they hold the international businesspeople and diplomats at the party, releasing all the women except Roxanne. Captors and their prisoners settle into a strange domesticity, with the opera diva captivating them all as she does her daily practicing. Soon romantic liaisons develop with the hopeless intensity found in many opera plots. Patchett (The Patron Saint of Liars) balances terrorism, love, and music nicely here. Anna Fields has a pleasant voice and reads clearly, although she doesn't differentiate among the characters especially well. The tape quality is excellent. Recommended for large public libraries. Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.