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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 (2345 )
5 star
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4.0 (1445 )
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Story
4.3 (1433 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Catherine 08-06-12
    Catherine 08-06-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bel Canto"
    If you could sum up Bel Canto in three words, what would they be?

    Engrossing and Tragic


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I loved all the individual characters, but I think that Mr. Hosokawa sticks in my mind the most. A business man who had little time for his family, he was the most changed by these events.


    Which character – as performed by Anna Fields – was your favorite?

    Anna Fields did such an amazing narration of this book. She brought life to all the characters, male and female in many foreign languages. Amazing!


    Who was the most memorable character of Bel Canto and why?

    Gen was the most memorable for me. He brought guests and terrorists together in a way that would not have been possible without his interpretations.


    Any additional comments?

    Read/listen to this book. You won't be sorry. I listened to State of Wonder for my book club and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to read another Ann Patchett book. I chose this one for it's unusual premise. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 08-04-12
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    54
    28
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    "It starts out slowly, but stick with it"

    Ann Patchett's style reminds me of an old master painting. She starts with the grounding, and then gradually adds the lights, the darks, and the mid-values. Ultimately, after many semi-transparent layers, an intricate and beautiful image emerges. You will fall in love with the characters and the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terence 07-30-12
    Terence 07-30-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Recommend"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Interesting story and well narrated. Amongst the top books I've listed to this past year.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 06-28-12
    David 06-28-12 Member Since 2016

    I've been a member for 3 years and over 280 titles. I listen during my commute to/from work. Mysteries around the world...Jo Nesbo, Larsson, Erin Hart, Tana French, Verghese, Stuart Neville others?

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    "A melding of cultures I thoroughly enjoyed."

    Different nationalities, extremely poor vs extremely rich and a lot of forbidden relationships. I've read State of Wonder and recommend them both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sharbear 06-24-12
    sharbear 06-24-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    4
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    9
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "If only all books were this good"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Bel Canto to be better than the print version?

    Yes.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Since I have read this book I have been on a fruitless search to find another one which captures me in the same way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Martin South Windsor, CT 06-04-12
    Jessica Martin South Windsor, CT 06-04-12 Member Since 2014

    Jessica Pulse

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Avoid this one."

    Yuck. This is my second Ann Patchett book, and I know that's not enough to make a sweeping generalization about her writing style. However, I will say that the two books I've read were of the same formula. An enticing begin, with a long, drawn out, and boring middle, followed by an abrupt and rushed ending where everything is neatly wrapped up in a great hurry. This book was unrealistic to the extreme, and I found reading it to be painful at times. Strong dislike. I have no idea how this book won any awards. Usually if I don't like an award winning book, I can atleast see some redeeming qualties. Not the case here.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Clifton, NJ 05-01-12
    Amazon Customer Clifton, NJ 05-01-12 Listener Since 2003

    musicandmysteries

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
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    "I waited too long for action"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Did not like being told how it was going to end and then waited a long long time for the 2nd shoe to fall.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    It should have been a shorter book


    Have you listened to any of Anna Fields???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes, she is great as usual.


    Any additional comments?

    I did love the characters, flawed and quirky.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin austin, TX, United States 02-29-12
    Kevin austin, TX, United States 02-29-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "One of the best ever"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you like a book of characters and character interaction, as well as surprise and suspense, you will love this book.


    Any additional comments?

    Do not be fooled by the surface situational description of this book as I was. I had owned it for years and never read it because I was not so interested in a book about hostages. However this book only uses the situation as a vehicle to explore human relationships and it is wonderful, gripping, and impossible to stop listening.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 02-29-12
    Linda 02-29-12
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    "Rich, well written wonderful."

    This book took my breath away. I held on to every word. The narration was complex enough to make me concentrate and focus on the characters. The story was beautiful, I could hear the song, feel the heat, the fright, the love that unfolded during their ordeal. I did not cry in the end for those that died. Terrorists and hostages alike were given the rare opportunity to truly live in the moment, to experience all that really matters in life.

    1 of 2 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
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    "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

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