Recent Reads: Bel Canto


Yesterday, I finished reading Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. After reading This is Where I Leave You, it was very hard to slip into serious material. But it was so worth it. I wouldn’t normally read a book like this, but it was a recommendation from my sister’s friend and I’m trying to branch out into different genres anyway.

Bel Canto is a very beautiful but subtly terrifying story. A party is held at the vice president’s home  in a small, less fortunate country for the 53rd birthday of Mr. Hosokawa, the head of a big electronics company in Japan. The hope is that they can convince the man to build a factory in the country, create some jobs and make a name for the place. To do this, they invite opera soprano Roxane Coss, Mr. Hosokawa’s favorite artist, to get him to come to the party. As expected, he attends, but with no actual intention of creating business with the people.
Everything is going well, the food perfect, the music beautiful.
Until the terrorists arrive.

They come in search of the president, to hold him captive in an attempt to start a revolution. But he isn’t there. So they improvise, holding all of the men and Roxane Coss hostage. What happens next is best left to the reader. But it is a very complex story about the different people who stay in the house, both hostage and captor, and the complicated relationships they create under the circumstances.

It was really beautiful and tragic and I very much enjoyed this.
I’m glad it was recommended to me, and I would do the same.

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