Reader reviews and comments on Bel Canto, plus links to write your own review.

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Bel Canto

by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto
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  • First Published:
    May 2001, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2002, 336 pages

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There are currently 31 reader reviews for Bel Canto
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Louise (06/07/15)

Bel Canto
Loved, loved loved this book. So many meaningful passages that provoke one yo think of their own past love(s). Will read again-to catch all of Ann Patchett's subtle nuances!
Katelyn D. (03/16/12)

Boring
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.
Sheila Balls (01/01/09)

Bel Canto
Not until the last page does a character think about marrying for love and he casts this age old saying into a new light. This book causes us to examine love in its different kinds between characters caught in a strange existence. For some, there is more meaning to their lives than ever before.
kiki (08/12/08)

no action!
This book was slow moving, not enough going on...the character development was great but not for the entire book
Benr (08/07/08)

Why?
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].
Fahd Imam, period 4 AP english (08/31/07)

Book Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
In Bel Canto, Patchett seamlessly combines action, romance and a high level of maturity to produce an amazing fictional novel that truly deserves winning the PEN/Faulkner award and Orange Prize for Fiction. It is Patchett’s best work and one that will undoubtedly touch its readers in a very intimate way.
   In the book, Patchett uses entrapment as a means of creating a very unique and bizarre situation, allowing her to generate an interesting set of characters, whose everyday interactions and changing relationships form the heart of the story. After a failed kidnapping, the terrorists and hostages in the story learn to get along and live in harmony, creating an isolated world of their own in a mansion (the location of the hostage situation). [edited to remove plot spoiler] .. the beauty and significance of the book lies in capturing the temporary society created within the hostage situation, a society that reveals many interesting facets of human nature, as well as the many shifting relationships within the mansion between the individuals that form that society. Thus, the book provides a reader with a terrific insight on society at every level, ranging from individual characters (the protagonists) to small groups (such as the Russians who tend to associate most with one another) to the terrorists and the hostages.
   In the book, an interesting form of a utopian society is created. As the terrorists and hostages live side by side, trust is cultivated between the two groups and their interactions become more casual. In a way, the generals (leaders of the terrorists) represent the government, the other terrorists represent enforcers of the law, and the hostages represent the common people. If the book is examined in this context, one can clearly see an evolution of the relationship between the government and the people in what Patchett may consider to be a perfect society. Similarly, the prospect of the police invading the mansion and hurting its inhabitants can be seen to represent the danger of the outside world. Patchett herself, through one of her protagonists named Roxanne Coss, wittingly calls the situation a "failed social experiment".
   One of the major lessons presented in the book is that passions can get people through the direst of situations. Early in the book, the hostages feel hopeless and powerless, knowing that their welfare lies in the palm of the terrorists. Patchett then inserts her own passion, opera, as the saving grace in the mansion. When the opera singer and protagonist Roxanne Coss sings for the mansion’s inhabitants, everyone feels a renewed sense of hope and will to live. Readers come to see opera in a completely different light after reading this book, as it is music that becomes the language crossing cultural and language barriers, as well as barrier between hostages and terrorists. Another passion in the forefront of the book is love, as two separate love stories emerge within the book. In one of the love stories, both lovers are a little older and thus aware that their love will probably not last; the other love story involves two young lovers who have the hope of a better life for the both of them.
   Bel Canto is a very engaging book that cannot be put down once one has started reading it. The social and political issues it covers are embedded well into a riveting story that keeps its readers hoping and dreaming along with the characters of the book.
cathy (06/13/07)

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I'm studying this novel for school and I think its fantastic! And although some people in my class hate this book, it is so easy to talk about as a class, as its has so many different levels. I love the way the whole book (format, story line and meanings) relate to opera and music!Ii recomend this book to anyone whole loves opera and hopeless love stories!
Jon (07/11/04)

This was a great book. There is tremendous character development and interaction. It really makes you feel like you're in the mansion with the rest of the characters.

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