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Review: Bel Canto, Ann Patchett

A dinner party held in celebration of Japanese businessman Katsumi Hosokawa, with his favorite opera singer Roxane Coss as entertainment, goes horribly awry when a group of terrorists capture all of the guests.  Their target, the president, is not at the party.  At a loss, the terrorists continue to hold the hostages and to everyone’s surprise, an entire world develops in this one large house.

This is a compelling and intricate novel, full of unexpected little details.  I’m not sure that it’s realistic, but it tries its best to show us the universality of human nature.  Terrorists got on just well with multi-millionaires; people are more than just their day jobs.  I think that’s really what this book is about.  People have vast dimensions that are invisible to those around them until crisis brings them out.

Not much else to say really; this book left me reeling for a few days and I struggled to get into my next read; I’m not sure I’ll call it one of my favorites of the year, but it’s deeply moving and I would definitely recommend it.

Buy Bel Canto on Amazon today.

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