Sunday, October 12, 2008

Patchett, Ann (Bel Canto)

Without reading any critiques of this book, I'm certain it's about equating music with love, and love with music. Only I can't quite figure out how. Both are beautiful, both take you to unseen places, both sustain us in hard times, both are memorable.

But in this setting? A group of famous and high-class people are kidnapped at a dinner party in some third world country and held for months in the country's VP's house. Because they are not killed outright, they grow and learn and even love together. But I don't think Patchett is only trying to create a story around Stockholm Syndrome, because why else would she make music such an important piece?

Making the characters a little too perfect rubbed me a bit the wrong way. Gen is the perfect translator, Roxane is the perfect soprano, Ruben is the perfect host. If they're all so exemplary, why is it that they make so many mistakes, up to and including the final, fatal ones?


Debbie Diesen said...

I haven't read Bel Canto (though I did recently read Patchett's book Run, as well as her nf Truth & Beauty), so mostly this comment is just an excuse to say Hello!

And also to say that we enjoyed your Christmas letter (and feel very modern having received our first paperless Christmas letter :)

All best,
Debbie & co.

Kat said...

Wow, great to hear from you! I added the email address from your web site to our list for next year's letter, hope that's okay.

How did you like Run? I've heard a variety of opinions, would be very interested in yours.

Debbie Diesen said...

I found Run a very absorbing book, and I read it pretty quickly. I thought the characters were fascinating, and the writing lovely. In the author interview at the end of the paperback version, Ann Patchett says that to her it's a novel about politics; but for me the politics weren't the key take-away of it. Anyway, I think it's a book I might have to read again someday before I really know what I think of it.