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

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Bel Canto

by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett X
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
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  • First Published:
    May 2001, 336 pages

    Jun 2002, 336 pages


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There are currently 32 reader reviews for Bel Canto
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The book was a page-turner of no significance. It did hold one's attention most of the time, but the same story could have been told in half the number of pages. The outstanding part of the book was the description of the characters. For that alone, it is worth reading.

I heard a lot of good reviews about this book and - how disappointing ! I now think that there was an opportunity for a great book but it was missed. I found the reading pleasant and the story somewhat interesting but very flat when it comes to describing the characters. I personally love stories with good strong developped characters. In this book, I didn't find one single character that I was sad to leave behind when I turned the last page. When the author started developing a character and I started entering his/her world, Ann Patchett suddenly dropped him/her and moved to another one. It became very frustrating at one point and prevented me to really enter the story. Finally, I didn't really see what the end was adding to the story. <<edited for possible plot spoiler content>> I gave it a '2' because it is not the worst book I ever read (it was still a nice pleasant book to read) but because I felt like I didn't meet any interesting characters.
Sheldon H. Laskin

I found the book an easy and pleasant read; with the exception of the first seventy or so pages, I read the entire novel on a flight from Salt Lake City to Baltimore via Denver. While I have nothing particularly negative to say about the novel, neither do I have anything particularly positive to say about it. I don't think the novel had anything unique to add about the nature of the hostage/captor relationship (what's new about everyone being a hostage to fate?), the nature and allure of art, or the elusive nature of love. The epilogue, while not totally implausible (the opera singer, Japanese industrialist, his translator and the female terrorist were in many ways a foursome, so the epilogue does have a kind of logic to it), is not particularly satisfying. Unlike most of the critics, I didn't find the book lyrically emotional; I thought it was pretty flat and by the numbers. I'm interested to see what the other members of our book club thought of it.

Although this book is based on a true event it is too unbelievable. A famous opera diva, a brilliant piantist, a child prodigy, a translator who speaks twenty languages, a friend of a priest who has all the sheet music known to man and terrorists who play soccer with their foe on the front lawn. I was waiting for the flock of pigs flying south for the winter to pass by. They can probably sing too.

Ironically, the novel is rather comical. Ann Patchett is able to take a tense frightening situation and turn it into an entertaining situation in which the reader can take pleasure and giggle while reading. Without the comedy in this book it is nothing more than childish prose containing boring stories about an unreal situation happening to characters to whom the reader feels no connection or interest to what-so-ever. Many people do not see the comical way in which the author writes, making the experience of reading the novel painful and giving the reader a sick sensation of the author's seemingly disreguard for hostage situations. The only reason this book is assigned in English classes is so the Teachers/Professors can feel like they are being diverse and cultural.
Katelyn D.

I thought this book was very boring. Patchett wrote stuff that was irrelevant in the book and it just wasted my time. I had to read this book for school, and I did not recomend it to anyone. I don't think that I will read another book by her.

This book, my book group's September selection, was a great disappointment. Our group leader led us to believe this was one of the best books she'd ever read, and I was eager to get started. Get started I did, but the author didn't. This book has absolutely no plot, and is boring to the point of laborious. I forced myself, in two sessions, to get to page 88. I put the book down, read two others, and felt it was again time to approach it. I read five more pages, then skimmed/flipped to the end. This beast never got any better.

As a college Literature major and an avid (5-6 books a month) reader, I found this book to be totally without merit. It says nothing and goes nowhere.

Don't attempt to read this beast. Oral surgery is less painful.

Boring, boring, boring. Please don't waste your time. This book had absolutely no tension in it. First graders learn that to write a good story they have to put tension in their story. It was also an unremarkable and unbelievable story. The ending was terrible and had no continuity with the rest of the story. It is also appalling that the author tried to make the TERRORISTS in this story warm, lovable and unfortunate folk instead of barbaric, hatemongers who kidnapped and terrorized people and held them hostage for four months. I'm sure that the real story of the hostage takeover in Peru is much more interesting than this poorly written romance nove.

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