Tuesday 24 October 2017

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett has become a firm favourite, to the extent that I’m not sure she could write something I won't enjoy. I picked this up after the delightful Amazon jungle tale - State of Wonder - which was full of adventure and whimsy.

Bel Canto is even more ambitious. In a village/city, it doesn't really matter, in South America, there is a birthday party in honour of Mr. Hosokawa, a visiting Japanese dignitary. They are in the vice-president's home, the president having cried off to watch TV. Terrorists barge in, during an awkward intimate moment, to take the absent president hostage. It's all a bit of a mess, really. Not that different, but very different from real life. We observe the different attempts at survival, from hostages and terrorists alike, and then connection and love as the time passes, and people from the outside try to negotiate for peace and safety in this fraught situation.

I wouldn't dare to attempt to write this one. However, as usual, Ann pulls it off with grace, truth and some truly 
magical moments. A little on the long side, I did find myself wondering more about the writing and in admiration of the super-talent, than deeply and completely engrossed in the story line, which I'd have preferred to be.

I listened to the audible version, which was beautifully done.

A fascinating 4 stars.

ISBN: 9780060838720

More Ann Patchett - Commonwealth, State of Wonder.

Or why not try The Wonder by Emma Donoghue?

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