Bel Canto

Ann Patchett

Winner of The Women’s Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

The poignant – and at times very funny – novel from the author of The Dutch House and Commonwealth.

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honour of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxane Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerised 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.

Reviews of Bel Canto

    • ‘A beguiling mix of thriller, romantic comedy, and novel of ideas…Crisply written, immaculately plotted, and often very funny, it is that rarity – a literary novel you simply can’t put down.’ The Times
    • ‘Like the blueprint of operatic performance that she has imported, Patchett slides from strutting camp to high tragedy, minute social comedy to sublime romanticism.’ Alex Clark, Guardian
    • ‘Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett’s fiction. Comparisons are tempting to the unabashed romanticism of Laurie Colwin, the eccentric characters of Anne Tyler, the enchantments of Alice Hoffman. But Patchett is unique; a generous, fearless and startlingly wise young writer.’ New York Times Review of Books