Friday, October 18, 2013

I Am Loving Bel Canto

I am still enjoying Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and am on page 202 of this 318 page book.  I  like the humor in the story and I am fascinated by the characters.  I am going to recommend this book to the book club. There is a mixed group of about 58 high level officials in a hostage situation. The women and children had been released except for an opera singer, Roxane Coss. The story revolves around her. The male hostages and the terrorists which include two girls are captivated by Roxane's voice; the pure sweetness of her upper register. Page 201 says of Roxane, "She sang as if she was saving the life of every person in the room."  She has become close to one female bandit, Carmen. They braid each other's hair as if they were BFFs.  According to Carmen, Roxane is in love with a Japanese businessman also in captivity, Mr. Hosokawa.

Mr. Hosokawa's personal Japanese interpreter, Gen, is a key character in the story because he speaks several languages and is needed to keep the communication going.  He is very busy in this hostage crisis interpreting Russian, French, English, Spanish, Japanese. Much of the communication is between various male hostages and Roxane and also between the Red Cross official Messner and the terrorists. Gen is in love with Carmen, the young female bandit who wants to improve her education in the midst of this hostage crisis.

Father Arguedas, a young priest and another major character, seems very happy to be a hostage. He loves opera and is grateful to be in the presence of Roxane.  He prays for love, protection, and safe delivery for all but not  for rescue.

The Vice President, Ruben, of this unnamed South American country is an interesting character in the story. The hostages and terrorists are in his home and he is busy cleaning, organizing the cooking, and generally playing host as if this were a normal situation. He's given Roxane some of his wife's clothing. It was funny when he approached Roxane to get guidance on how to prepare dinner. He assumed because she was a woman she would know about cooking.

I am hoping this has a satisfying resolution.

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