Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bel Canto

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

This was a hard book to get through.  I had to put it down and then go back to it (part of my new year's resolution is to finish all those books I didn't finish last year).  It was worth finishing.

Bel Canto is set somewhere in South America.  A lavish birthday party is being thrown at the home of the Vice President.  The guest of honor is the president of a company being wooed by the nebulous South American country.  They would very much like him to build a factory in their company which would bring much needed jobs and revenues to their country.  The president of the company has no intention of doing any such thing.  He agrees to this party because the country has arranged to have his favorite opera singer perform at his party.

Unfortunately, the terrorists planning to kidnap the President of the country don't get the message that the President will not be attending the birthday party after all.  This book is about what happens when a rather poorly planned kidnapping fails to occur but now way too many people are hostage and the terrorists see no way out.

Much of the story surrounds Mr Hosokawa and his interpreter, Gen Watanabe.  We also get to know Roxane Coss the opera singer.  Several of the terrorists are featured as well as a few of the hostages including the Vice President.  The people within the Vice Presidential residence live in a bubble until they don't.  The ending is predictable but it's quite lovely in how swift and silent it seems to occur.

I hated the Epilogue.  I think this book was a beautifully written tragic love story.  There were so many people who became wrapped in different kinds of love, love of music, love of a friend, love of an un-reachable woman, love of a man or a woman within a bubble.  The Epilogue seemed to diminish the relationships and feelings that occurred in the book by trying to tie it all up in a nice bow of resolution.  I didn't want the resolution.  I wanted to feel like I was left hanging and deflated.  That felt genuine.

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