I find myself thinking about the Bel Canto characters as I fall asleep and when I wake up....and then I have to remind myself that they are not real people. I prefer non fiction to fiction, but this novel grabbed me in a way that was utterly unexpected and moving.
After listening to (and loving) Truth and Beauty, I decided to give Ms. Patchett's fiction a try. What can I say? Her writing feels like a personal gift to be treasured forever.
The story takes a long time to get going. Even after it gets going, it takes a long time to complete. And then BAM! The ending is here and the book is over. I am not sure if I like that or not. But the story is worthwhile to listen to.
There are no great insights into the minds of these characters. There are a lot of characters. They are all pleasant. But they are not me. I am not a high ranking political official, nor am I the head of a company, terrorism is not something I dream about, and I am not a well-known opera star. But Patchett brings these people to real life, and presents them as if they were you and me. And that is why this book is good.
The narration is okay. I do not think Fields does accents well, and the demand in this story is great with Japanese, Russians, French, Danes, Germans, and Spanish characters involved. But it is acceptable. I knew which characters are speaking in each passage.
The ending is unsettling, although reality would have it no other way. But it did seem rushed. The last scene "explains" it all but those present do not make sense to me (or at least some of them). But I do not want to spoil it. Would be a good bookclub discussion.
I really liked Bel Canto. The story is good and unique and it grabbed me from the beginning. The writing is so wonderful....it is beautifully written yet easy to follow and listen to. I thought the pacing was just right and the reader did a great job. There were many characters and many different accents and the reader kept them from running together and sounding the same.
As much as I liked Bel Canto, it's not a perfect book. I thought the terrorists (especially the three generals) were too nice and permissive and this seemed a little unrealistic. Also, because there were so many characters, some of them weren't very well developed. In particular, I wanted to know more about Roxanne and her early years/background. Some of the characters were great, though. Gen (the translator) was so developed that I had a bit of a crush on him. I wasn't happy with the epilogue. There wasn't ground-work put anywhere in the story for what happens in the epilogue, so it seemed unbelievable to me and like kind of a cop-out. The epilogue also only addressed what happened to four of the characters in the story. There were a lot more characters than that and I wanted to know what happened to more of them.
Overall, though, Bel Canto is good and enjoyable and I will probably listen to it again at some point. I like Ann Patchett's beautiful writing so much that I will seek out more of her books.
Ms Patchett writes very well and creates a believable story between the haves and have-nots. I felt all characters were overly obsessed with opera which felt unnatural.
This book is so incredibly well written that words do not do it justice. Just awesome. I so admire a writer that has the gift to live and communicate an intricate, loving, perfect story. This is not to say there is not sadness, tragedy and injustice but then this also is life. In this book these emotions are balanced with honor, appreication, and love with it's many faces. I love this book. Brava Ann Patchett; Anna Fields so perfect; we have lost such a talent in Ms. Fields. She will not be forgotten. For those with vision deficiencies she gave the written word life.
I enjoyed this book very much. The story line was unique and the characters were all very believable. The reader was appropriate to the story...completely objective whether speaking from the point of view of the terrorists or the hostages. All in all a very good listen!
It was a good story with inevitable ending but the epilogue followed only one situation and 3 characters. It would have been better to hear about post adjustments of some of the other characters.
Although there were parts of this book that seemed to move too slowly, I was glad I persevered. In fact, I got up in the middle of the night to listen to the last hour and a half.
Although the ending of the book (epilogue)might seem to wrap up a little too neatly and conveniently, there actually was a tragedy in my own community that 'ended' much the same way. While I think I might have enjoyed something more complex in terms of a resolution to this story, the book was still a very good read, and I enjoyed it immensely.
If you become interested in opera after listening to this book, check out the print edition. In the back of the book, the author addresses how her own interested in opera developed, and she includes specific references.
The narrator does a really great job switching from voice to voice. I normally don't enjoy audible fiction as much because of how difficult it is to narrate dialogues in a convincing way. But this book was a pleasure.
Patchett does an amazing job of drawing us into this drama of the Stockholm syndrome. From the terror of the first attack through the developing personal relationships between the tribes. Despite the centering of the Red Cross negotiator and the priest, I found myself being fooled into a sense of timelessness just like the characters.
The themes of timelessness, music and lives lost to business very very compelling.