July Book of the Month: Bel Canto
Posted 11 July 2003 - 06:48 AM
Posted 11 July 2003 - 11:20 AM
I was glad that it received much love, warm fuzzies, etc. since it's timing could have been disastrous -- it's about a group of terrorists that takes hostage a lavish party for a Japanese businessman featuring an American opera singer as its guest. These terrorists, though, are more hapless than violent and murderous, and the story of how they end up captive, and captivated, with one another is just delightful. The ending totally caught me off guard -- don't you hate when you can spot the ending too soon?! -- and basically took my breath away.
Posted 26 July 2003 - 01:19 PM
What a lovely book. I kept thinking the word "lovely" as I read it, and wondered how I could use such a term when reading about hostages/terrorism. But that's the tone of the book.....the evolution of emotions, the transformation of both hostages and terrorists, the unwitting creation of a world happier than the world from which they were wrenched. Of course the situation was doomed, and the only question was in what form the doom would appear. I could not help but compare the affect the music had on the listeners to the affect some ballets have on me: the disbelief that something can be so beautiful and pure, a desire to dance as well as those whom I watch, the feeling that lights have been turned on and I'm being dazzled; such was the affect both Roxane and Kato had on their audience.
Knowing that the situation had no possible happy ending I was anxious to see how the book ended; but with each new chapter and new character development I found myself happily involved in what was going on in the house rather than seeing it end, as it must.
OK, what do you think really happened to Carmen?
Posted 27 July 2003 - 01:53 PM
However, I am puzzled by this question:
I thought it was quite straightforward??? In the final paragraphs of the story, her fate is both stated and described. Do we have reason to disbelieve what is said? However, I did have to read and reread a few times before I understood what happened to Mr. Hosukawa.
Posted 27 July 2003 - 02:08 PM
Posted 29 August 2003 - 07:44 PM
In the epilogue, Gen and Thibault lament how the newspapers got it all wrong. Gen says "Everything I've read says there were fifty-nine men and one woman" -- presumably Roxane -- but "Carmen and Beatriz are never mentioned." Thibault agreed, saying that in France there had been no mention of the girls either.
So, I don't think the papers were talking about who lived or died. The count must have been the total number of inhabitants of the house. Thirty-nine male hostages, one female hostage, and twenty kidnappers -- all presumed to be male.
That's the way I read it, anyway.
Posted 30 October 2003 - 04:50 PM
I never wanted the book to end and dreaded it for many reasons. Like you, Giannina, I knew there was no way it could have ended well for the terrorists but I was desperately hoping to be surprised. My pulse quickened in the final pages before the hostages were freed. Knowing there'd be a bloodbath, I started reading more and more slowly to keep myself from arriving at that inevitability.
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