Bel Canto

Bel Canto Summary

Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award • Winner of the Orange Prize • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

"Bel Canto is its own universe. A marvel of a book." —Washington Post Book World

New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett’s spellbinding novel about love and opera, and the unifying ways people learn to communicate across cultural barriers in times of crisis

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.

Patchett's lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance.

Book Reviews


The best Ann Patchett book5 star

This is my favorite book of all time. I should read it again.55

Perky too

Bel Canto2 star

It took me 3 tries to get into this book. Not high on my list of favorite books. I found the story line a bit difficult to believe. I did finish the book. Lots of readers seem to enjoy it. Not me.25


Bel Canto4 star

I loved the romance. Truly captured the feeling of love. I really wondered about it’s truthfulness. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie.45

The Pilot's Daughter

Spellbinding5 star

In this, my favorite of all of Ann Patchett's books, the characters come alive from the first moment you meet each one. She has seamlessly brought together a cast that except for these circumstances, would have never crossed paths. I was so engrossed in the manner in which lives intertwined, in my empathy for the plight of each person, that I mourned the end of the story line and what was a somewhat predictable final outcome. Lyrical, beautifully written and totally enchanting. I have gifted this book to no fewer than twenty people...all of whom have thanked me!55


Perfect Book.5 star

I have no words other than "Thank you so much AP."55

found what I'm looking for

will make you love opera5 star

This is a beautifully written story with a clever plot. Part romance, part drama and part thriller. It exceeded my hopes and left me wanting more. This is a book I would give as a gift because it has no downsides.55


Lyric, beautiful story5 star

Patchett is a master of prose, and her seamless POV switching is one of the best elements of this masterfully written story. It's a romantic, lilting story that carries us into a saturated experience that you won't want to leave.55


AP needs to work on her endings3 star

I enjoyed the story and came to care about the characters. Unfortunately Patchett has a tendency to rush her endings, as if she tired of writing and just wanted to be done. In the end, I feel dissatisfied.35

Noah Smith

Phenomenal Book5 star

I had to read it for my freshman year of college. The minute my fingers touched the binding, I couldn't let go. Must read.55

Other Books by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House


The Dutch House
4.5     4798
State of Wonder


State of Wonder
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4     1273

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