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Bel Canto (Ann Patchett)

An opera singer, a Japanese businessman, his translator, a vice-president of a small South American country, other important foreign dignitaries and compatriots, and a couple of dozen terrorists — they are all in the same house at the same time. Ann Patchett sets the stage and has the players act out the drama of this hostage-taking scene. What should be a tense and terse action-filled plot turns out to be a mismanaged human tale told with sardonic humour and warmth. Patchett goes behind the scene to look at the individuals involved. She gives all the players an individual personal identity that makes each of them visible in a normally masked situation.

Although Bel Canto is based on a real hostage-taking situation, Patchett's novel is not an exploration of why it occurred. Rather it is an exploration of how the situation is dealt with. She looks at the development of new relationships and changing alliances, while at the same time, she considers the role that language plays in these unfamiliar circumstances. Because music is such an integral part of the story, it must be considered one of the unfamiliar languages.


This Bookclub-in-a-Box PDF discussion guide (72 pages) for Ann Patchett's novel Bel Canto includes:

• Novel synopsis
• Author information
• Character analysis
• Focus points and themes
• Writing style and structure
• Symbols
• Important quotes from the novel
• Book club discussion questions


Preview the Guide

Discussion guide does not include the novel itself. This product is a PDF file — if you do not receive an email receipt with download link within a few minutes of completing your order, check your spam folder, then contact us.


Price: $6.98

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