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Book Review: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

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In an unnamed country, Roxanne Coss a lyric soprano is performing for Mr Hosokawa’s birthday. Mr Hosokawa is a CEO of a large company.

The leaders of the unnamed country hired Roxanne, Mr Hosokawa’s favourite opera singer to sing at his birthday, to lure him to their country like a worm on a fishing hook.

They hope to convince Mr Hosokawa to make much needed investment into their country.

The birthday party is being hosted at the Vice President’s house (a mansion). Many VIPs are present, both from the unnamed country and from across the world.

But the President of the unnamed country gives his apologies, the party is on the night of his favourite soap opera and he simply can’t miss it. This decision to stay home, probably saves his life.

Roxanne sings her last note. The room is stormed by rebels. The rebels were really after taking the President captive for their own political reasons and causes. The rebels are mostly teenagers apart from the older Generals, but all are armed and have been well trained.

The VIPs are in shock. The authorities soon realise what has happened. Then starts a long siege. The rebels make demands daily, the authorities provide food, etc. Author Ann Patchett described her discovery and love of opera while writing the book. This is clearly evident throughout and at times distracted from the storyline.

The plot was reasonable but was limited by the situation. Not a lot happened as the authorities and rebels were in a state of deadlock for most of the book. The ending was believable and a little sad. But the epilogue was extremely disappointing as it was so unbelievable and against what the characters would actually do.

The were a whole host of characters, but Patchett rightly focused on a few key characters. The characters were a pleasure to get to know, drove and sustained the readers interest.

The description clear, concise and flowed freely. Patchett’s writers voice and style was engaging and superb – as with all of her books.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett was an okay read and is available to buy on Amazon and at all good book shops.

Review soon,



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