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Bel Canto | [Ann Patchett]

Bel Canto

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.
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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 (2048 )
5 star
 (801)
4 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (1174 )
5 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (1166 )
5 star
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4 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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  •  
    Dr. D 10-21-11
    Dr. D 10-21-11

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    92
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Cindy Woodland, CA, USA 03-03-09
    Cindy Woodland, CA, USA 03-03-09 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    35
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    88
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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
  •  
    Hal Miami, FL, United States 01-31-09
    Hal Miami, FL, United States 01-31-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    99
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    198
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    "Real life in real fiction"

    I'm not much for fiction, but this made a convert of me. It has taught me something I should have been taught in school: that there is literature that engages life and there is escape literature to get away from it.

    The later is much more common: living life, as it is, is the last thing most want to do - even when that life is creative writing - reading it, or writing it.

    I cannot develop characters as a writer, that is why I was a technical writer. But Ann Patchett can. I wonder why I never heard of her before.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anna Tucson, AZ, United States 05-05-08
    Anna Tucson, AZ, United States 05-05-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    49
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "bel canto"

    I chose this book based on the reader. She was fabulous. Her mastery of the accents and voices is remarkable. I am sad she is gone. The book started out slow but then gradually turned into a very heartwarming story. I hated the ending. It just didn't make sense, no matter how I tried to reconcile it.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Denver, CO, United States 04-04-08
    Barbara Denver, CO, United States 04-04-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    241
    9
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    0
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    Overall
    "Suberp!"

    Fabulous tale and wonderful narration.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michele Moorestown, NJ, USA 12-02-07
    Michele Moorestown, NJ, USA 12-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Loved it"

    Couldn't stop listening to this intriguing tale of a diverse group of strangers coming together in a confined environment. Loved all of the aspects - music, love, language, cooking, etc.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 06-18-07
    Susan 06-18-07 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    4
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "Bel Canto"

    A truly wonderful book, I could not wait to get back to it. Extremely well read. Five stars!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ale Sunnyvale, CA, USA 02-05-07
    Ale Sunnyvale, CA, USA 02-05-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    61
    2
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    Overall
    "Good book with BAD narrator"

    I really am enjoying the book but keep finding myself irritated and disappointed with its narrator. To me it sounds like she has a tongue ring or speaks often with her mouth full. The only accent she does well is Spanish, and everyone else in the book (Russian, French, Japanese etc.) end up speaking with the same Spanish accent. This is irritating and distracting - the reason I can tell is that I am Russian myself married to a Frenchman. However, my complements to the writer. This is a very beautifully written book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra St. Louis Park, MN, USA 04-01-06
    Sandra St. Louis Park, MN, USA 04-01-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Loved It!!"

    I listened to this book over a year ago and I still think of it often. It was entertaining, thought-provoking and sweet. One of the best stories I've ever read or heard.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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