Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bel Canto: Review

Another suggestion from Dad, and another home run. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett combines opera and love and armed revolution to create a dance of a novel. Although I was frustrated by the frequent and unsubtle foreshadowing, I was completely drawn in by the gradual and elegant unveiling of the characters. 

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I forget, sometimes, that what I love most about a great read is great characters, and Patchett doesn't fail to deliver them - though not fully born. These are characters you come to know. Who open up to you slowly, which is only appropriate given that the central players are a Japanese businessman, his interpreter, a young female revolutionary, and an opera star ingénue whose years on display have left her somewhat weary. None of these are characters we would expect to fling wide their arms and welcome us in, and so the reward of getting to know them is all the richer. 

The plot winds slowly as well, and rewards as richly. But Patchett gives enough away - you don't need me to do that for you. 

Read Bel Canto. Savour the exotic local and rich description. And note without analysis the hints of what's to come - you'll be the more pleased for it. 

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