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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 (3152 )
5 star
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4.3 (2166 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    N. Rogers San Antonio, TX, USA 01-20-16
    N. Rogers San Antonio, TX, USA 01-20-16 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    153
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    242
    51
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    6
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    Story
    "Engaging Characters and Mastery of Language"

    I'd actually give this novel a high 4-star rating. The characters were complex and interesting, as were their intricate relationships. I prefer character-driven novels over those with emphasis on action and plot. While this novel certainly had moments of high drama and suspense, these were brief and infrequent. Instead, I found myself drawn into the lives of the people in this book as they evolved within the strange isolated environment they occupied. There was a growing sense of foreboding, a knowledge that this suspension of reality could not last, that none of the inhabitants could be warned or protected.

    So why not a 5-star rating? The ending, the very last page or two, left me unsatisfied by its implausibly. It seemed contrived, as if the author needed to tie up the ends of chaos neatly and make some sense of tragedy. For me, her solution did not work. Still, I recommend this book for the rest of it which did succeed in engaging me completely. I plan to read more books by this author in order to enjoy her mastery of language and rich characters.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Muskegon, MI, United States 12-20-15
    Julie Muskegon, MI, United States 12-20-15 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    128
    3
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    0
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    Story
    "Slow burn"

    I was bored for much of the first half of this book, maybe I was distracted or stressed. But it snuck up on me. I truly could not predict the ending, and that is rare for me. Lovely writing.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Konetzka Goodrich, MI USA 12-05-15
    K. Konetzka Goodrich, MI USA 12-05-15 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent"

    A meditation on the impermanence of life and the importance of appreciating every moment. Highly recommended.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Smiball Cincinnati, OH, United States 11-13-15
    Smiball Cincinnati, OH, United States 11-13-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    15
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    "Interesting"

    Throughout this book I would tell my husband I didn't think I liked it but then would find myself telling him about it in great detail and he'd point out that it sounded like I liked it. Even at the very end I'm questing myself - did I like it? Based on the ending, that literally made me gasp while driving, I decided I did like it and have since recommended it to 2 friends.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    molly 09-23-15
    molly 09-23-15 Member Since 2016
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    22
    2
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    Story
    "Amazing!"

    One of the best books I have read in the past 10 years! The performance was astounding!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellen MPet 09-05-15
    Ellen MPet 09-05-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    Story
    "Why have I waited?"

    Engaging character development, believable story, magnificent language. So many examples of fresh metaphors and descriptions. The ending made me want more however.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fay Sunshine 08-18-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
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    Story
    "Beautiful"

    I'm not sure I would have stuck with this book if it weren't read to me, but I'm so glad I did. it really creeps up on you and gets in your heart.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grifgirl OK, United States 08-04-15
    Grifgirl OK, United States 08-04-15 Member Since 2012

    teacher & book lover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story, good narration"

    I really enjoyed the characters in this book. There was an interesting dynamic between captors and captives. Together they created a sort of utopian community from what could have been a hellish situation.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucy C. Drake 08-01-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    3
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    "Beautifully Written: Disappointing Morality"

    This was a magical story about how music can transform a situation. However, the infidelity towards the end was very disappointing. It diminished the beauty.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua O. Hess 06-23-15 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    31
    10
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    Story
    "Engaging"

    This is an extremely engaging and well written novel. The characters are each completely realized and I felt more and more connected to the individuals as they intertwined.
    Patchett went to Sarah Lawrence College, of which I am alum. She's remarkable and easy to recommend.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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