Book 2 Bel Canto

This is a book I knew nothing about before I started reading it, it just happened to be the next book on my Kindle.


Book 2, Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett, I didn’t know what to think when I started this book and it was just telling of a dinner party being held for a Japanese businessman/opera enthusiast by a small Latin American country in the hopes that he would invest in their country.  The point when the story won me over was when it was explaining that the part was being hosted by the Vice President of the country, because the president refused to miss the soap opera he always watched on Tuesday night.

Then terrorists came, of course they wanted to kidnap the president and overthrow the government.  The story then turns into a tender, music loving, absurdist comedy.  Stockholm Syndrome begins to take its toll on both the terrorists and the hostages as you see relationship between each group.  Primarily the terrorists which are sympathetic are those who you expect to be: the very young and the two female terrorists.  The story doesn’t give much weight to any of the young male terrorists and they exist primarily as names.  Three generals lead the terrorist group, they are never truly portrayed as bad, but they have been left in an untenable situation in that the one person they needed at the part wasn’t there.

At the heart of all the going ons is a love of music.  Maybe it’s just the being an uncultured swine, but Opera has never been a part of my life, I don’t understand it, I’ve only been to one and it was in English.  Of the scores and scores of music the only operas I ever downloaded were always prefaced with “Rock.”  If this book had a secondary role, and I have to believe it did, it was that it opened my mind to exploring the possibilities of the genre.  I started off with the Three Penny opera, which I’d already had a song from and I thought the song was pretty great with its imagery, its attitude and the twist ending .  

I’m going to give it a try.  Some time spent with a deck of cards and Carmen while I try to concentrate may do well for me, or I may just be hopelessly uncultured swine.


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