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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 (2819 )
5 star
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4.0 (1870 )
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4.3 (1858 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Di N. Happy Atlanta, GA 05-21-15
    Di N. Happy Atlanta, GA 05-21-15 Member Since 2010

    Di N Happy

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    4
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Bravo"

    I have recently been introduced to Ann Patchett's work, and am now her #1 fan. Bel Canto did not disappoint!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celeste Bartunek 04-13-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    137
    21
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    "Exceptional Story"

    Exceptional storytelling of very unusual circumstances that lead to love and loss. The most memorable moments were the vivid descriptions of the music and how mesmerizing it was. The narrator was exquisite!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George Pugh 04-12-15
    George Pugh 04-12-15 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    8
    1
    Overall
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    "A masterpiece for the ages"

    One of my favorite books of all time. Deep in meaning. Beautiful turns of phrase that almost take my breath away. And a story that never slips in keeping the readers attention. And the reader did a marvelous job.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle 04-01-15
    Michelle 04-01-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Worthy read"

    Enjoyable read but the ending is very forced. The power of music to transcend all, well almost all, is the true star.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-18-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    11
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I didn't think I was going to be so interested"

    I'm not giving away the story but she systematically brings you thru the story getting to know and like people and cheering for them to feel what it must have felt like in the end.
    I have trouble sitting and listening to a story thru. I lose interest here and there usually but not in this book.
    she keeps you waiting and interested without too much time passing before you can think I no longer care about this character.
    she gives you just enough clearly and then allows you to feel as if you were them.
    what it must have been like.
    she allows you to know what will happen in the end. at first, you think when will it happen with an eager sensation but as you near the end you think when's it going to happen with dread.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth J. Malloy 02-03-15
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    REVIEWS
    5
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I want to listen again and again"
    What about Anna Fields’s performance did you like?

    I loved to hear her read. She is among my favorites, second only to the woman who reads the Queen's Gambit -- best audiobook ever!


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great companion to Love in the Time of Cholera. That last chapter and this entire novel seem to be made for each other -- what is possible if only there was no outside world to interrupt us.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zeynep Memecan 01-16-15 Member Since 2017
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    16
    1
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    "Needs editing"

    I could hear background noises in the recording!! It was very weird and unexpected from an audible production. Also, at times there would be an abrupt pause in the recording. Other times, it would go back a few seconds and repeat!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. C. Edens Georgia, USA 01-09-15
    J. C. Edens Georgia, USA 01-09-15 Member Since 2015

    Been on/off with Audible since '07, when I found myself long-term in China, desperate for English language books. Love a good story.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
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    47
    25
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    "Mesmerizing! A bit surreal."
    What made the experience of listening to Bel Canto the most enjoyable?

    The narration is quite dreamy, omniscient voice seems impossibly hard to do well, and it works here. Everyone is kind of floating through this crazy, insane traumatic event. I really found I couldn't stop listening, even though I kept wondering why I was so compelled.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Bel Canto?

    The unraveling that finally--after so much tension has built up in the small space they all inhabit--happens. The climax.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The way the chips fell. Except the epilogue was quite cheesy and could be removed entirely from the book and do no one any harm.


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

    I did feel emotional at the end, after all that time invested in these people whose lives are so weirdly intertwined in this stalemate for so long, in such close quarters.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ESP 01-04-15
    ESP 01-04-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    41
    5
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    0
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    "Missed Out by Not Reading this Sooner"

    I loved it and have been recommending it to all my friends! It is definitely a top-10 pick for me for 2014. Can not believe I had not read it sooner.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clare 09-03-14
    Clare 09-03-14 Member Since 2016
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    21
    9
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    "Spellbinding performance and story"

    It's rare that I find a books which I can't put down. Bel Canto had me skipping my regular book club book to keep listening here. Wonderful narration, intriguing storyline. Put Bel Canto on your 'must read' list!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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