The Resource Bel canto : a novel, Ann Patchett

Bel canto : a novel, Ann Patchett

Label
Bel canto : a novel
Title
Bel canto
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Ann Patchett
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
  • eng
  • eng
  • eng
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 international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening -- until a band of gun-wielding terrorists breaks in through the air-conditioning vents and takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different countries and continents become compatriots. 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
Tone
Writing style
Award
  • Book Sense Book of the Year Paperback, 2003.
  • Orange Prize for Fiction, 2002.
  • PEN-Faulkner Award, 2002.
Review
  • Readers curious about the emotional flow between hostages and their takers should cotton to this novel based on the 1996 Tupac Amaru takeover of the Japanese ambassadorial residence in Lima, Peru. It traces the hostages’ adjusting attitudes during the torpor of a months-long siege. Relief from their tedium takes the form of luscious world-class soprano Roxane Coss, who had been entertaining an international assortment of diplomats and businesspersons when the terrorists took the Peruvian vice president’s house. Everybody loves her, eventually--a Russian diplomat, the Japanese tycoon who paid for her performance, one of the teenage hostage-takers, and so on. The medium for all professions of admiration and love is polylingual Gen Watanabe. As Watanabe flits from conversation to conversation, Patchett develops the characters’ thoughts. Watanabe, for example, takes a shine to a child-soldier terrorist, Carmen, who comes to share the fate of an operatic earlier bearer of her name. Unhurriedly, even languorously, Patchett brings readers into the minds of the characters. (Reviewed June 1, 2001) -- Gilbert Taylor
  • As her readers now eagerly anticipate, Patchett (The Magician's Assistant ) can be counted on to deliver novels rich in imaginative bravado and psychological nuance. This fluid and assured narrative, inspired by a real incident, demonstrates her growing maturity and mastery of form as she artfully integrates a musical theme within a dramatic story. Celebrated American soprano Roxane Coss has just finished a recital in the home of the vice-president of a poor South American country when terrorists burst in, intent on taking the country's president hostage. The president, however, has not attended the concert, which is a birthday tribute in honor of a Japanese business tycoon and opera aficionado. Determined to fulfill their demands, the rough, desperate guerrillas settle in for a long siege. The hostages, winnowed of all women except Roxane, whose voice beguiles her captors, are from many countries; their only common language is a love of opera. As the days drag on, their initial anguish and fear give way to a kind of complex domesticity, as intricately involved as the melodies Roxane sings during their captivity. While at first Patchett's tone seems oddly flippant and detached, it soon becomes apparent that this light note is an introduction to her main theme, which is each character's cathartic experience. The drawn-out hostage situation comes to seem normal, even halcyon, until the inevitable rescue attempt occurs, with astonishing consequences. Patchett proves equal to her themes; the characters' relationships mirror the passion and pain of grand opera, and readers are swept up in a crescendo of emotional fervor. 8-city author tour. (June) Forecast: Opera can be a tough sell, and though the musical theme is deftly integrated, this book may have a harder time catching readers' interest than did Patchett's first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. Positive critical response should attract attention, however. --Staff (Reviewed April 16, 2001) (Publishers Weekly, vol 248, issue 16, p42)
  • Lucky Mr. Hosokawa. The well-connected Japanese businessman, now in an unnamed South American country on yet another job, is having a very special birthday party. At the home of the country's vice president, opera singer Roxane Cos will be performing for him and his guests. But what's this? Armed men invading the premises? These ragtag revolutionaries are looking for the president and disappointed that he is not there, but that doesn't stop them from holding the party goers hostage. What happens after that was, for this reviewer, a story that failed to ignite. Patchett (The Patron Saint of Liars ) generates little tension as she moves her players around the board, and one is disappointed that there is little reflection about the head-on clash of art and life. This book is getting a big promotional pitch, however, so libraries may want to consider. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/01.]—Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed July 1, 2001) (Library Journal, vol 126, issue 12, p126)
  • /* Starred Review */ Combining an unerring instinct for telling detail with the broader brushstrokes you need to tackle issues of culture and politics, Patchett (The Magician's Assistant, 1997, etc.) creates a remarkably compelling chronicle of a multinational group of the rich and powerful held hostage for months.An unnamed impoverished South American country hopes to woo business from a rich Japanese industrialist, Mr. Hosokawa, by hosting a birthday party at which his favorite opera singer, Roxane Coss, entertains. Because the president refuses to miss his soap opera, the vice-president hosts the party. An invading band of terrorists, who planned to kidnap the president, find themselves instead with dozens of hostages on their hands. They free the less important men and all the women except Roxane. As the remaining hostages and their captors settle in, Gen, Mr. Hosokawa's multilingual translator, becomes the group's communication link, Roxane and her music its unifying heart. Patchett weaves individual histories of the hostages and the not-so-terrifying terrorists within a tapestry of their present life together. The most minor character breathes with life. Each page is dense with incident, the smallest details magnified by the drama of the situation and by the intensity confinement always creates. The outside world recedes as time seems to stop; the boundaries between captive and captor blur. In pellucid prose, Patchett grapples with issues of complexity and moral ambiguity that arise as confinement becomes not only a way of life but also for some, both hostage and hostage-taker, a life preferable to their previous existence. Readers may intellectually reject the author's willingness to embrace the terrorists' humanity, but only the hardest heart will not succumb. Conventional romantic love also flowers, between Gen and Carmen, a beguilingly innocent terrorist, between Mr. Hosokawa and Roxane. Even more compelling are the protective, almost familial affections that arise, the small acts of kindness in what is, inevitably, a tragedy.Brilliant. (Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2001)
Awards note
Pen/Faulkner Award, 2002.
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
048895
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Patchett, Ann
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
Interest level
Grades 9-12
LC call number
PS3566.A7756
LC item number
B4 2001
Literary form
fiction
Reading level
6.3
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Study program name
Accelerated Reader
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Women singers
  • Victims of terrorism
  • Embassy buildings
  • South America
  • Hostages
  • Opera
  • Romance
  • Embassy buildings
  • Hostages
  • Opera
  • Victims of terrorism
  • Women singers
  • South America
Label
Bel canto : a novel, Ann Patchett
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocm45466121
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
318 pages
Isbn
9780060934415
Lccn
00053671
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
9780060188733
System control number
(OCoLC)45466121
Label
Bel canto : a novel, Ann Patchett
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
ocm45466121
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
1st ed.
Extent
318 pages
Isbn
9780060934415
Lccn
00053671
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
Other control number
9780060188733
System control number
(OCoLC)45466121

Library Locations

    • Amity Public LibraryBorrow it
      307 Trade Street, Amity, OR, 97101, US
      45.123326 -123.205021
    • Dallas Public LibraryBorrow it
      950 Main Street, Dallas, OR, 97338, US
      44.941959 -123.317528
    • Independence Public LibraryBorrow it
      175 Monmouth Street, Independence, OR, 97351, US
      44.851488 -123.185756
    • Mount Angel Public LibraryBorrow it
      290 East Charles Street, Mount Angel, OR, 97362, US
      45.068308 -122.797712
    • Newberg Public LibraryBorrow it
      503 East Hancock Street, Newberg, OR, 97132, US
      45.301909 -122.974741
    • Sheridan Public LibraryBorrow it
      142 NW Yamhill Street, Sheridan, OR, 97378, US
      45.100699 -123.395913
    • Silver Falls Library DistrictBorrow it
      410 S. Water Street, Silverton, OR, 97381, US
      45.003378 -122.781322
    • Salem Public LibraryBorrow it
      585 Liberty Street SE, Salem, OR, 97301, US
      44.934972 -123.041775
    • Stayton Public LibraryBorrow it
      515 N First Avenue, Stayton, OR, 97383, US
      44.799165 -122.794497
    • Woodburn Public LibraryBorrow it
      280 Garfield Street, Woodburn, OR, 97071, US
      45.143305 -122.858355
Processing Feedback ...