What readers think of Bel Canto, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Bel Canto

by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett X
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2001, 336 pages

    Jun 2002, 336 pages


  • Rate this book

Buy This Book

About this Book


Page 2 of 4
There are currently 32 reader reviews for Bel Canto
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!


This book was absolutely amazing. As a character-driven novel, Bel Canto reveals humanity in its purest form, providing for an emotionally affective story. I consider this book to be a five because as I read it seemed as though I was uable to turn the pages quickly enough; ironically as I absorbed the story, I realized the inevitable ending of the novel, yet suppressed my knowledge for my hope of a happy ending. Such an ability to deeply affect a reader reveals the brilliance of an author.
Bill Schillaci

The narrative is filled with comic irony, although Patchett's style is so subtle that at times I did not realize I was smiling. On one level, it is a romantic fantasy, a vision of so much that is good about humanity and then a sad reminder of what is bad. We are asked, for a time, to suspend our belief in the obvious, the inevitable. And so gently and gracefully does Patchett weave a web of a budding paradise that she has readers believing in the impossible. The transition to reality takes no one by surprise. We know, in the back of our minds, what will happen. Patchett manipulates our emotional responses so skillfully that we do not even notice it. In the end, she delivers a perfectly right, charming little surprise that allows us to exit on a high note. Finally, the great simplicity of language should make it relatively easy to translate this book into other languages while losing very little of its beauty and meaning.

Political farce gets a new face. Some people have a hard time stomaching after 9/11, but just goes to show the books power. Very sublime. Laugh out loud and yet completely tragic. I love this book. It's like neo-magical realism. Can't wait to read the rest of the authors works. Bravo!
Cheryl P.

The interaction of the characters was riveting. After page 100 I couldn't put it down. I very much enjoyed the way the author went from one character to another and told their background story and their side of the event. It gave the reader multiple perspectives and allowed you to see what drove the characters to act the way that they did.

I loved this book! I am not at all musical so I don't know how plausible the extreme effect of music on the characters is but the book is a beautifully rich look at a variety of individuals in a unique situation.

Charming, powerful, and lyrically written. I could hear the music, embrace the lovers, share the hopes of the terrorists, both individually and collectively. As I got closer to the end, I tried to devise a positive outcome for all. The brutal ending was inevitable.

This was a wonderful book -- well written by Ann Patchett -- catching the true personalities of the characters. The situation described was unusual and captured your interest from page one! There was no second guessing the ending -- and you almost wished it would never end. A tale of intrigue, passion and humor -- it caught your attention made you want to "participate" yourself. By all means -- READ IT!

This book succeeds very well as a modern fable. There are wonderful, if broadly drawn, characters - almost caricatures. The message of wasted potential is powerful. There are characters to love, but none to hate. HOWEVER: What was up with the epilogue? I can't figure out why it was there. [edited to remove plot spoiler].

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Postcard
    The Postcard
    by Anne Berest
    Anne Berest's The Postcard — with an elegant translation from the French by Tina Cover &...
  • Book Jacket
    by Jennifer Saint
    Few cultures in history mastered the art of tragedy quite like the ancient Greeks. And very few ...
  • Book Jacket: Salvage This World
    Salvage This World
    by Michael Farris Smith
    In the near-future universe of Michael Farris Smith's Salvage This World, life-threatening ...
  • Book Jacket: Where Coyotes Howl
    Where Coyotes Howl
    by Sandra Dallas
    Where Coyotes Howl may appear to be a classically conventional historical novel — a wide-eyed ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Little Italian Hotel
    by Phaedra Patrick

    Sunny, tender and brimming with charm, The Little Italian Hotel explores marriage, identity and reclaiming the present moment.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.



Solve this clue:

Y S M Back A I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.