I'm not giving away the story but she systematically brings you thru the story getting to know and like people and cheering for them to feel what it must have felt like in the end.
I have trouble sitting and listening to a story thru. I lose interest here and there usually but not in this book.
she keeps you waiting and interested without too much time passing before you can think I no longer care about this character.
she gives you just enough clearly and then allows you to feel as if you were them.
what it must have been like.
she allows you to know what will happen in the end. at first, you think when will it happen with an eager sensation but as you near the end you think when's it going to happen with dread.
I loved to hear her read. She is among my favorites, second only to the woman who reads the Queen's Gambit -- best audiobook ever!
This is a great companion to Love in the Time of Cholera. That last chapter and this entire novel seem to be made for each other -- what is possible if only there was no outside world to interrupt us.
I could hear background noises in the recording!! It was very weird and unexpected from an audible production. Also, at times there would be an abrupt pause in the recording. Other times, it would go back a few seconds and repeat!
Been on/off with Audible since '07, when I found myself long-term in China, desperate for English language books. Love a good story.
The narration is quite dreamy, omniscient voice seems impossibly hard to do well, and it works here. Everyone is kind of floating through this crazy, insane traumatic event. I really found I couldn't stop listening, even though I kept wondering why I was so compelled.
The unraveling that finally--after so much tension has built up in the small space they all inhabit--happens. The climax.
The way the chips fell. Except the epilogue was quite cheesy and could be removed entirely from the book and do no one any harm.
I did feel emotional at the end, after all that time invested in these people whose lives are so weirdly intertwined in this stalemate for so long, in such close quarters.
It's rare that I find a books which I can't put down. Bel Canto had me skipping my regular book club book to keep listening here. Wonderful narration, intriguing storyline. Put Bel Canto on your 'must read' list!
Loved it on every level. Liked that there were no "hidden" messages, but outright connections and links to events and personal psychology of the hostages. Loved that so many characters could be so individually present and unique. Loved the "love" relationship of the two couples, adored the Russian's profession of adoration based on a (long) short story of the man's early years. Yes, these are archetypal characters.. we've seen them all before in one scenario or another, but the twists are subtle and sufficient enough to make it a page turner, though the pages turned gently, for it was a sweet book, a book of hope.
Throughout the story, the narrator tells us things like "later he would think..." so that we knew certainly the future of that particular character. The suspense was in my own longing that the couples could be coupled after the takeover. Yet the tragedy and the glory of the situation grow from the impossibility of the situation.
If the set was too comfortable, too well fed, housed in a mansion and not in a thatched roof hut in a forest, who cares? The story was about captivity, language, voice, independence and dependence. The Opera motif fit perfectly the drama of the setting, the largeness of the characters, and voice, voice was key here.
A translator is not allowed to interpret or choose what is meant to be said, eventually the Traductor stepped out of his role. A terrorist is not supposed to waver; the generals eventually tired. Child terrorists should be obedient or they would be punished, this scruffy lot was hungry for the outside world and confined to the VP's mansion were things they would never have seen, heard or felt. It was about acceptance and letting go.
Someone mentioned that the language came right of an MFA platter of perfect English. I agree, and that's what made it so readable. The sentences were almost invisible, unless you don't like your English well done. The language carried the story without intrusion and that is a trait of greatness.
I have one complaint, and that complaint cost this the 4th star. The ending, a bit abrupt, was "unfair," regarding the terrorists, and it seemed rushed. But beyond that, what we learn in the Epilogue about the survivors broke the spell for me. I did not care at all for the way Roxanne and Gen ended up. It is too flimsy to say that because each lost the love of their individual lives (as formed in captivity), that they should assume the roles of the lost ones. Mr. Hosokawa and Carmen go down together by a single bullet.. ghastly and too melodramatic. Gen and Roxanne’s final pairing made no sense, and while I was ready to "sell" the book to anyone who would listen to me, it ruined the spell for me. Of course, Edith and Simon Thibault made sense together… Simon’s adoration of his wife was never questioned.
Narrator Anna Fields was splendid...
This audiobook was my first introduction to Patchett, and my favorite so far. The writing is lyrical, the characters captivating, and the narration fits it well. Some other reviewers have criticized the ending. I agree that it's pretty sudden and I would have liked a few more chapters there at the end, but it's nothing to greatly diminish the overall quality of the book.
This is one of the few audiobooks that will go on my best-of-the-best list!
Not written it.
Dunno. Her performance was fine, but couldn't save the book.
Boredom. The situation was belieable enough, but too many details weren't. Also, the book was like a twinkie...all empty calories. It was way too romantic in both the common and literary senses of the word.
Stay away unless you like fluffy, romantic tripe.
An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.
My experience with this book mirrors many of the other reviews I read. It is not particularly interesting at the beginning. The author gives you what seems to be MANY too many details about the individual characters, and yet very little action. I kept waiting for something to happen.
But the characters and their relationships ARE the story. The unfolding of friendships, the dramatic reversals in roles, the blossoming of unexpected love, and the creation of a real community ... that is what eventually grabs your attention.
I have to also say that the narrator did a fabulous job with an enormous number of accents.
Well worth it.