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.
©2001 Ann Patchett; (P)2001 HarperCollins Publishers
"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)
If you read the synopsis, it is hard to imagine how engaging this story is. But it is. The premise is odd, but results is a fascinating interplay among characters you don't expect to find in the same place. Beautifully written with language to savor. The performance is exceptional - with the narrator giving life to many characters with a wide variety of nationalities, dialects and personalities.
This has become one of my favorite audio books, and I will be looking for more by this author and this narrator, for certain.
How can a book about terrorists taking hostages including a beautiful renowned opera singer brought to entertain at a political birthday party in an unnamed South American country be boring?? Don't know, but this one is. I've listened to hours of this and haven't been convinced to care about any of the characters or develop any interest in the plot. I keep going back to see how much longer this can possibly be and sadly I'm not quite half through it yet. But since I don't care what happens to the characters, I don't have to know the ending, so I think I'll stop listening and move on to something more interesting. I really don't understand all the positive reviews!
Reasonable storyline, predictable outcome. Writing is decent but I'm not sure there's much depth or undertones. No idea why this is an award winner.
I've listened 2.5 hours to date (n the book, it's morning after the attack). Ms. Patchet's prose may be "miraculous", but this art would be better appreciated in service of a plot. When last I left, she was describing the silk wrap of Edith Thibeault (spelling on character's name is approximate - don't forget, I'm listening). Why does anyone care? This is hardly high symbolic literature.
Because I don't know the payoff ending (except that all the revolutionaries die), I'm beginning to think that this is an attempt to evoke The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Unfortunately, the characters are far less compelling.
This is one of the most boring audio books to which I have listened. The details about the hostages daily life for 4.5 months was far from interesting. And as previous reviewers wrote, you will learn nothing serious about opera or hostage situations from this book. On top of all that, I thought the end was a bit ridiculous. I won't divulge the details though, just in case you do decide to listen. On a positive note, this is a great replacement for sleeping pills.... Just don't read it while you are driving.
This book has poor plot, no action, no adventure, unrealistic characters and drags along forever. In other words no matter what aspects of a story you might enjoy I can't see any reason you'd like this book.
Listening to it is like chinese water torture.
This story had a great deal of promise in its set-up, but its execution seemed shallow and very unsatisfying.
Save yourself the disappointment. You will learn little about opera, latin america, or hostages.
After the first 10 minutes, little was believable in this tale. We're supposed to believe the victims sat around complacently for 2 weeks? and then months? The author's arguments for the incredible denial of victims was way too much for me and from what I've read of actual happenings. This had fairly favorable reviews so I kept listening hoping for something good.
This book is great (for putting me to sleep). All I have to do is slip on my ear buds and click on this story and sleep is just around the corner. Plus, it does not have the hangover of Ambien or Tylenol Blue. The only thing slower than this book is an unabridged version of Wagner's Ring Cycle.
At first I was very unhappy about this purchase, but it has driven me to sleep now multiple times as i struggle with jet lag and stress.
Unless you are an insomniac or an obsessed opera fan that believes the only reason people do not like opera is because they have not had exposure to it, you may want to buy a book from a different aria.
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