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Bel Canto Audiobook

Bel Canto

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: Ann Patchett's prose is, quite simply, miraculous. And Anna Fields' narration, amid all the nationalities and accents and characters, is superb. Together, the two bring to life a tale of such stunning imagery and emotion that you'll be replaying entire chapters just to see it again in your mind. —Chris Doheny

Publisher's Summary

Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening, until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.

But what begins as a life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.

Ann Patchett has written a novel that is as lyrical and profound as it is unforgettable. Bel Canto is a virtuoso performance by one of our best and most important writers.

Don't miss our free Ann Patchett interview. Patchett is an Audible CelebrityListener - find out what she's listening to here.

©2001 Ann Patchett; (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

  • 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction
  • Book Sense Book of the Year Award Winner, Paperback, 2003
  • PEN/Faulkner Award Winner, 2002

"Patchett can be counted on to deliver novels rich in imaginative bravado and psychological nuance. This fluid and assured narrative...demonstrates her growing maturity and mastery of form." (Publishers Weekly)
"Mixing art and politics can have unexpected results, but rarely are they so poignant....[Anna Fields'] performance is the essence of Bel Canto, easy, pure of tone, with an agile, precise vocal technique." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2392 )
5 star
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Overall
4.0 (1487 )
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1 star
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Story
4.3 (1475 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Julie 11-25-11
    Julie 11-25-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One of the worst books I've read"

    I kept listening to the book hoping it would improve. A member of our new book club proposed this book as she'd heard great things. I'm 51 yrs old and have been reading for quite awhile, I am going to keep my comments very basic. There were too many characters in general, many we only heard a tiny bit about, characters that we should have known more about we only had glimpsesof to the point where you wonder why did the author bother. The writing is ridiculously overdescriptive in every aspect, to the point of foolishness. The story dragged on far past the amount of time and information we needed to get the point she was trying to make. It almost seemed like she dragged it out so she could fit in as many flowery adjectives as possible, it was more about the descriptions than it was about the story. Terrible waste of time.

    Sorry I didn't like the narrator either, not sure why necessarily perhaps the accents that were attempted or her voice just didn't suit my personal preference.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen los angeles, CA, United States 11-22-11
    Karen los angeles, CA, United States 11-22-11 Member Since 2013

    living in los angeles I drive a lot, so audio books save me from a lot of frustration!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    85
    ratings
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    181
    33
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    Story
    "One of my all time favorites!"

    I have been ruminating about this book for days. I was completely caught up in it, in love with it, swept away with it and then came the ending. It was so sudden that I felt betrayed and cast aside like a lover who is dropped with no phone call or explanation. Now, 3 days later, I have come to terms with the author. She wrote a book about a period of suspended time, outside of ordinary reality. When that time ended and reality hit, she wrapped it up quickly, in a shocking denouement that made this reader feel like the characters must have. I think I get it now... I am adding one more star.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrea rogue river, OR, United States 11-14-11
    Andrea rogue river, OR, United States 11-14-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    15
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    "This book is a gift."

    This book takes you to another place.Love stories and human relationships that make you fall over and over again for that human connection we long for always...

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Huson, MT, United States 11-12-11
    Connie Huson, MT, United States 11-12-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Took my breath away!"

    It took me a little while to get into this book, but it caught me up and didn't let me down until the end. I listen to books in the car on my 45 minute commute and when I got home the last time listening to this, it had 8 minutes to go. I sat in the car in the garage and listened to it end. Another reviewer said that you see the ending coming, but I didn't and it made me actually catch my breath. The narrator did a great job with the accents and the storytelling. I loved it! and will recommend it to others.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John L. Moncrief NYC 10-27-11
    John L. Moncrief NYC 10-27-11 Member Since 2016

    Lawyer, Vietnam War draftee, Peace Corps Thailand, fan of the Constitution, Science Fiction lover, work in New York City, like bodysurfing

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "The Narration is So Good"

    I think it is a five star novel overall and a five star story but maybe it is not and it is the narration that has clouded my critical faculties. The narrator, Anna Fields, is just the right combination of matter of fact delivery, excellent and not over-the-top accents (Spanish, French and Russian) and excellent portrayal of the characters without acting up a storm. This is how I like to hear a book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. D Menard, Texas, United States 10-21-11
    Dr. D Menard, Texas, United States 10-21-11

    Retired veterinarian. Living the good life - ranching on the river!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    9
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    "Well worth your time!"

    A really good story. The author develops each character completely and puts you inside their head. The emotions are developed and palpable! You can't wait to see what comes next!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colleen Calvert 09-18-11 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unusual, engaging story"

    Every time I found myself thinking this story sounded impossible, it would surprise me and draw me in further. It doesn't really matter if it is realistic or not. The characters are wonderful and the relationships, while unconventional, are interesting. This is a book in which you are drawn to almost all the characters, however flawed. Loved it!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trista Houston, TX, United States 07-08-11
    Trista Houston, TX, United States 07-08-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    211
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    87
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    Overall
    "only all right"

    I might have expected too much from this book. I had heard many great things, but I thought it was only okay. I kept waiting and waiting for that moment that just grips you and you never want to stop listening, but it never came. Anna Fields does a great job, though!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christine Guilderland, NY, United States 09-06-10
    Christine Guilderland, NY, United States 09-06-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Odd Novel But Reading Excellent"

    The story at times was too precious but still overall was fascinating. The reading by Anna Fields was among the best I have heard.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Woodland, CA, USA 03-03-09
    Cindy Woodland, CA, USA 03-03-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    "Fun"

    This is a fun read. I really enjoyed the narrator and I liked getting sucked into this world. I kept wishing there was more to the story -- which I see as a sign of a good book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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