April 30, 2007
"Bel Canto" by Ann Patchett
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, begins at a dinner party – a birthday celebration for a wealthy, Japanese industrialist, being held at the vice president’s home in a Latin American country. Rich and power guests (diplomats, businessmen, etc.) were drawn to the party with the thought of doing business with the honored guest – he was drawn by the opportunity to have a famous soprano sing for him. All this changes, though, when the party is disrupted by a group of armed terrorists who arrive, planning to capture the country’s president. The president isn’t in attendance and what follows is the story of captives and terrorists as their forced cohabitation stretches from hours, to days, to weeks and on into months. Cut off from the outside world, except for a Swiss Red Cross negotiator who visits regularly and carries lists of demands between the terrorist generals and the government, the captors and hostages become an unlikely community as the roles each member plays changes them from their lives before the armed compound became their world. This book is so beautifully written, that I was hooked by the language and images before I had finished the first paragraph.
Posted by jnardine at April 30, 2007 09:46 AM