Sometimes you read a book by an author you’ve never heard of, just by chance–you grab it off the shelf at a library because the cover is pretty, or it happens to be on an end cap so it catches your eye. And when you start reading you are immediately hooked on that author so completely that you must read everything they’ve ever written.
That is what happened with Ann Patchett. I don’t remember exactly how I came across Bel Canto, but I know it was something serendipitous. It wasn’t a new book when I read it, it was just something I had randomly picked up. I hadn’t read any of Patchett’s other books, but since reading Bel Canto, I have read and purchased many. Not all…yet. Her prose is unbelievably beautiful, her stories so well thought out, her characters diverse and excruciatingly human.
Bel Canto is the story of a botched political kidnapping. What should have taken only a few hours becomes a months-long hostage situation. Enemies become friends as language barriers slowly break down and lives are shared.
This is a book that I can, and have, read over and over and over again, for all of the reasons I gave earlier. It always makes me wish I enjoyed opera, and sometimes I will listen to some of the pieces Patchett mentions…but I still prefer instruments to such high pitched voice. The way she describes Roxanne Coss though, the experience is lovely.
As I’ve said before with Patchett’s books, pick her up when you want something on the slower end. There is some action, some romance, some suspense, but it’s not bam bam bam in your face. Her writing is very well balanced, and so you keep turning pages and forget about everything else (I was almost late to yoga this morning!). Make this your next read after one of those hard hitting trilogies. you won’t be disappointed!
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