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Bel Canto by Ann Patchett February 7, 2006

Posted by pvccbookclub in Current Discussion.
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February’s selection is Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. It is an unusual yet moving story, set in an unnamed South American country. A group of terrorists interrupt a lavish birthday party for Japanese businessman, Mr. Hosokawa, and take the partygoers hostage. Terror gives way to resignation, and then to an unexpected domesticity as the hostages and the terrorists grow accustomed to one another and to their untenable situation. Easing their anxiety is the presence and voice of opera singer, Roxanne Coss who was invited to sing for Mr. Hosokawa. Her talent and beauty unites the captives and their captors in an admiration that suspends time and the urgency of the crisis.

What do you make of this easygoing relationship between the hostages and their captors? You would expect that in this type of situation that the hostages would be united into one camp against their captors, and vice versa, yet this is not the case. What is it about Roxanne Coss, or any of the other characters, that changes this group dynamic?

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