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Ann Patchett, Copyright: Harper Collins
Ann Patchett
born: 1963
in: Los Angeles


1992 .|. The Patron Saint of Liars First Chapter at the Author's Homepage
1994 .|. Taft First Chapter at the Author's Homepage
1997 .|. The Magicians Assistant
2001 .|. Bel Canto First Chapter at the Author's Homepage .|. Bookworm's Comment
2004 .|. Truth and Beauty First Chapter at the Author's Homepage .|. Bookreporter.com
2007 .|. Run First Chapter at the Author's Homepage .|. Bookreporter.com
2008 .|. What now? First Chapter at the Author's Homepage
2008 .|. The Worst Noel: Hellish Holiday Tales
     (Short Story)
First Chapter from Harper Collins
2011 .|. State of Wonder

Interview with Ann Patchett on Goodreads.com (June 2011)

Bel Canto
"Bel Canto" (Fourth Estate London, Paperback, 1st edition, 2002, read: March 04)
"Kidnappers storm an international gathering hosted by a poor Latin American country to promote foreign trade. Unfortunately their intended target, the President, has stayed home to watch his favourite soap. The takeover settles into a siege, bringing together an unlinkely assortment of hostages, including a beautiful American opera diva, a Japanese CEO who is her biggest fan, and his unassming translator, Gen. Two couples, complete opposites, fall in love, and a horrific imprisonment is transformed into an unexpected heaven on earth."

The story is based on the assumption that music and especially opera can change the world and the people who listen to it. In any case its the opera which makes life bearable for 60 hostages who have been kidnapped for almost five months in a Latin American country. And it makes the rebels who actually wanted to kidnap the president of the country, kinder. Because among the hostages is the soprano Roxane Coss whose singing prevents everyone from going crazy. During their 4 1/2 month long captivity different people meet, alliances are formed and couples fall in love. Only the negotiations between the kidnappers and the government have reached a deadlock.

Its a wonderful story which shows what happens when two unlikely events occur simultaneously: How living together so closely and opera can change the destiny of all people involved.
The storytelling is so gripping and the people are described so life-like that one really wants to go on reading without interruption and can't lay down the book. After one paragraph you're directly drawn back into the story and ask yourself why you stopped reading in the first place.
The novel definitely deserves every prize it has received until now (2002 Pen/Faulkner Award, Shortlist of the Orange Prize for Fiction 2002) and an author we will hopefully hear much more about.
[Dorothée Büttgen, May 04]

More great reviews at Bookworm's Lair:

Alessandro Baricco, Novecento     Fannie Flagg, Welcome to the World, Baby Girl     Jane Hamilton, The Short History of a Prince     Ann Packer, The Dive from Claussen's Pier

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