22 May 2009

Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

It is always nice when someone you respect makes a recommendations to you. I would attempt to say that such recommendations are usually a success, but this is not always the case. We are all prone to read reviews and other peoples recommendations to help us decide our own opinion, which is strange. For one, you may not have the same views as someone else; for another, even if you hold similar views, you may not be in the same frame of mind when you experience the same book, film, or show. For this reason, recommendations are not always a success.

Fortunately, I can say that this particular book was recommended by a friend, and I thank her for this recommendations. A book ostensibly about a hostage situation, ends up more as a book about human frailty and the innate instinct for human's to love, no matter what the circumstances.

The premise is simple: somewhere in South America a dinner party is being thrown for dignitaries from around the world. The guest of honor will be world renown opera singer Roxanne Coss. The party will take a seemingly disastrous turn for the worse when terrorists take everyone hostage. But what begins in a scene of seemingly violent intentions blossoms into a time of seemingly endless beauty. For the reader, all good things must come to an end....can the same be said for the characters? I recommend that you find out for yourself.

...and what I feel in my heart is love. there is no point in not telling you that. These people who detain us so pleasantly may decide to shoot us after all. It is a possibility. And if that is the case, then why should I carry this love with me to the other world? Why not give to you what is yours?

(this interaction between the opera singer Roxanne and one of the Russian hostages, Fyodorov, is one of the most beautiful dialogue interactions I have ever come across in any book)