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Bel Canto

336 pages, 2001



1382 books

A world-renowned soprano sings at a birthday party in honor of a visiting Japanese industrial titan. Alas, in the opening sequence, a ragtag band of 18 terrorists enters the vice-presidential mansion through the air conditioning ducts. Their quarry is the president, who has unfortunately stayed home to watch a favorite soap opera. 

Meanwhile, Russian, Italian, and French diplomatic types are among the hostages. Swiss Red Cross negotiator Joachim Messner comes and goes, wrangling over terms and demands. Time stretches into weeks, then weeks into months. 

Then one day the soprano happens to sing "Vissi d'arte" from Puccini's Tosca; within moments, both captors and hostages are transported to another world. As they listen together they forge unexpected bonds, sharing language itself as if it were an artifact of rare beauty, until eventually, something has to give.

The Power of Music

In Bel Canto, Ann Patchett explores the transformative power of music. The main character, Roxane Coss, uses her beautiful opera singing to bring peace and unity in a tense hostage situation. It's a reminder of how art can transcend language and cultural barriers.

Human Connection in Unlikely Places

Patchett's novel shows us that human connection can be found in the most unlikely places. Despite being in a life-threatening situation, the hostages and their captors form deep bonds. It's a testament to the human capacity for empathy and understanding, even in the face of adversity.

The Fluidity of Roles

Bel Canto takes a look at how roles can change in extraordinary circumstances. The captors become protectors, the hostages become friends, and everyone's preconceived notions are challenged. It's a fascinating exploration of how we adapt to survive.

The Fragility of Life

The book reminds us of the fragility of life. One moment, the characters are at a lavish party, the next, they're hostages. It's a stark reminder to appreciate every moment and not take anything for granted.

The Universality of Love

In her book, Patchett explores the universality of love. Despite language barriers and cultural differences, love blossoms in the most unexpected ways. It's a beautiful reminder that love knows no boundaries.

Quotes 5

Bel Canto is a riveting masterpiece that will leave you breathless.

Stephen KingStephen King - Horror Fiction Author

Bel Canto is a captivating tale that will touch your heart and soul.

Oprah WinfreyOprah Winfrey - TV Host, Philanthropist

Bel Canto is a beautifully crafted novel that is both enchanting and profound.

John UpdikeJohn Updike - Pulitzer Prize Author

Bel Canto is a mesmerizing story that will captivate you from start to finish.

Margaret AtwoodMargaret Atwood - Dystopian Novelist

Bel Canto is a compelling narrative that will keep you hooked till the very end.

J.K. RowlingJ.K. Rowling - Harry Potter Author
Stephen KingOprah WinfreyJohn UpdikeMargaret AtwoodJ.K. Rowling


authorMelinda Gates

Melinda Gates