Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is a book about a group of people, many important people, that are held hostage by a group of terrorists in some South American country – we never really learn where exactly. The party is for a Japanese businessman and as a gift to him he is going to get to see a famous opera singer that he has loved for years. In the middle of the party the terrorists come in from the air vents and cause chaos.
The terrorists originally were looking to kidnap the President of this country but unfortunately for the rest of the people at the party he had chosen not to attend, leaving them as the hostages instead. The women and children are let go but because the opera singer is famous, she is held back as she might be useful down the line. This hostage taking continues on for months with the terrorists demanding unreasonable things and being turned down by the government.
However, what starts as a panic and terror filled incident slowly turns into friendships and relationships between the hostages and the terrorists. Over the course of the months the hostages are allowed to walk around and even go outside. They don’t even try to escape as they really don’t feel threatened by the terrorists anymore. People that would never have been friends before find they have more in common than they would have thought and others even find love.
My reason for not using any names in this review stems from the fact that I felt no connection to any of the characters. I did find the story interesting but I didn’t find myself laughing or crying for anyone. I found the first part of the book when the hostages were taken and the last part of the book when things were being settled out the most interesting but the middle of the book for the most part kind of dragged on for me. The writing is very good and I’m sure some others may be able to get more from the book than I did.
I’m glad I read it though as it did keep my attention enough to finish it but my favorite of hers still remains her novel called Run. I think for me I was expecting more – maybe more chaos with the hostage taking, I’m not sure. While this wasn’t a favorite for me, it certainly wouldn’t keep me from reading more from Ann Patchett as I do enjoy her writing style.
My Thanks…to myself. This was a copy purchased by yours truly.