Thursday, April 18, 2013

Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Title: Bel Canto

Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: Harper Perennial

Publication Date: September 2007

Genre: Adult Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
I purchased this audiobook.


In South America, a birthday dinner party is taken over by terrorists who wish to kidnap the President in order to secure demands. But the President isn't there, and what should have been an in and out operation  becomes months of living together. Hostage and terrorists side by side, until no one remembers the outside world.

I enjoyed State of Wonder, Patchett's latest book, and on some friends' recommendations, I downloaded the audiobook Bel Canto.

There are many things to love about Bel Canto- the descriptions of the house, the surroundings, the deeply woven relationships and full of life characters that leap from the page. The love stories, the opera, the singing. The books feels like you are a hostage as well, removed from your old life, not sure how long you are going to stay, and surrounded in a new world.

The writing is elegant and moving, descriptive and like any Patchett I've read, some phrases are so dead on, they simmer for days in my head.
She certainly knows how to wright.

That said, I can't say I enjoyed Bel Canto. All of the above is wonderful, and I'm happy to recommend it to friends who enjoy fine writing. The story is interesting, but moves slowly. So slowly in fact, that I almost stopped listening a couple of times. Maybe I've become a young again, with a shorter attention span and yearn for action. But for me, the story moves too slowly and while all the characters are given full stories, and I am interested in all of them, not a lot happens.

That's the beautify and the flaw of Bel Canto. The hostages, terrorists and reader, is stuck in this house, where stuff is happening, but nothing happens. The limbo of continuing on when everything and nothing changes.
So while the book itself is impressive, I don't have an emotional pull to the book, the characters, the story.

Even the ending, when something does finally happen, is short and fast. It's wrapped up in minutes and the epilogue leaves me wanting, for motivation, explanation and forward motion. But even that, is slow going.

Rating: 5 OK, Decent like Diet Coke

1 comment:

  1. It's hard to hang in there when a story is moving slow as molasses.