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View Full Version : Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett



Perks
08-09-2006, 01:56 AM
So, what did we think?

Unique
08-09-2006, 03:34 AM
It was different.

I thought the ending was a little abrupt. Not to mention, odd.
Gen & Roxanne?
What happened to Mr. H? Did he go back to Japan? Get shot? Other?
He just sort of >poof< disappeared.

I hate it when books end that way; it seems like the author got bored and wrote 'whatever' just to finish it.

CaroGirl
08-09-2006, 10:03 PM
Hmmm, Bel Canto. Did I like it, or did I not? Jury's still out, I'm afraid. One of the problems I had with it was the characterization of Roxanne. I dislike and distrust the Perfect Character. She never revealed her flaws or faults. She was beautiful, talented, kind, intelligent, caring, endearing (blech!). She could be slightly impatient, but that's not much of a fault.

I also struggled with the structure of the prose. There were sooo many loooong descriptive paragraphs and so little dialog that I found reading it a slog, at times.

I liked the story and I liked the prose itself. Patchett's observations were interesting and she had some nice turns of phrase. I enjoyed most of the other characters and found them generally realistic. I quite liked the accompanist at the beginning of the story.

I don't know about the ending. It didn't seem very realistic to me.

Unique
08-10-2006, 09:41 PM
Are Caro and I the only people who read this book?

Shame on youse!

Perks
08-10-2006, 09:42 PM
Nuts. I'm not going to let this happen again, because I like to b!tch about a mediocre book as much as the next AWer. I won't be left out again!

alleycat
08-10-2006, 09:44 PM
I read it when it first came out. As I mentioned when the group was picking a book to read, I don't think it's the best book Patchett has written.

Unique
08-10-2006, 09:47 PM
Nuts! is right. I didn't even vote.
:rant:
I just read the dang thing cuz ya'll voted on it.
So I could discuss.
Now all I'm left with is the cuss.

Perks
08-10-2006, 09:52 PM
I'm so sorry. I meant to read it. I really did. Come to Asheville. I'll make a meatloaf...

AmyBA
08-10-2006, 10:31 PM
I read it. I did like it, but it think it would have been a much stronger book without the epilogue.

And thank you, CaroGirl-- there was something I didn't like about Roxane but I could never put my finger on it, but yes, that's it, she was too perfect.

Oh, and Mr. H-- I think he got shot. He took a bullet for whats-her-name...

I think it's interesting that Patchett tipped her hand so early in the book, only a few pages in, where she says that none of the terrorists will make it out alive (or something similar... I don't have the book in front of me).

seaaircarol
04-10-2008, 01:40 AM
I just reread this book, and I guess I'll be the lone dissenting voice here. I absolutely loved it.

I think Patchett put Gen and Roxane together at the end so that their love for Carmen and Mr. Hosokawa could live on. Roxane and Carmen had become close, and Mr. Hosokawa and Gen had worked together for so long. I didn't find it all that strange.

Liska
04-10-2008, 01:45 AM
I read it. I did like it, but it think it would have been a much stronger book without the epilogue.

Ditto that! I liked the book a lot... enough to give copies as gifts, but I told everyone to ignore the epilogue.

Judg
04-10-2008, 01:54 AM
I liked it. It may become an all-time favourite. I'll know that if it captivates me again in a few years. The ending was a bit strange, but not so impossible, I think. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

I loved her characterization. The characters came alive for me and were, for the most part, rather complex. Roxanne was more complex than she's given "credit" for here. She was mercenary, a bit self-absorbed - witness how she handled the accompanist. It took the captivity, I think, to pull her out of it.

Tilting her hand early, was interesting. I think she did that to keep us grounded. I, for one, was cheering for their developing fantasies, especially for the young hostage-takers, but then I would stop and say, "But it can't work out," which made it rather poignant and bittersweet. Although I had forgotten that line from near the beginning, she made it rather clear, especially through Meisner's take on the situation, that it would all turn out badly for the hostage takers.

The language, descriptions, observations were so often marvellous. I'm going to have to read more of her books.

seaaircarol
04-10-2008, 02:05 AM
Roxanne was more complex than she's given "credit" for here. She was mercenary, a bit self-absorbed - witness how she handled the accompanist. It took the captivity, I think, to pull her out of it.

Yes. I agree with this. I didn't much like her at the beginning because of this.