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review 2018-05-31 12:18
Bel Canto
Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

I was in high school when the Japanese embassy hostage crisis, the inspiration for Bel Canto, unfolded in Lima, Peru. It lasted from December 17, 1996 to April 22, 1997. I remember how it was resolved, so I knew going in that this wasn’t likely to end well for anyone. I told myself not to get attached to any of the characters, just in case. I failed.

 

Despite my determination not to, I slipped into the Stockholm syndrome as unsuspectingly as the characters. One moment I was reading in a suitably detached fashion about child soldiers pointing guns at foreign dignitaries, and the next thing I knew I was super invested in even the tiniest things. (Did Gen Watanabe ever get to eat his slice of cake, or did one of his captors or fellow hostages swipe it while he was being forced to play interpreter/secretary to terrorists? THIS WAS NEVER RESOLVED OMG I AM SO UPSET I CANT EVEN PUNCTUATE WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CAKE ANN PATCHETT ASDJGHKASDHKJAH)

 

The writing is beautiful and sucked me in completely. The story is so, so sad, and I can’t decide if I love or hate the epilogue. So I’m just going to sit over here and eat chocolate and stew in my conflicted feelings for a while.

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review 2017-07-01 04:05
Book Review: Bel Canto
Bel Canto - Ann Patchett

Book: Bel Canto

 

Author: Ann Patchett

 

Genre: Fiction/Based on Real Events

 

Summary: Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in the honor of the powerful businessman, Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening - until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion. . . and cannot be stopped. - Harper Collins, 2001.

 

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review 2017-03-20 15:21
Cultural Chicken Soup for the Soul:"An Experiment in Criticism" by C. S. Lewis
An Experiment in Criticism (Canto) - C.S. Lewis

Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality. There are mass emotions which heal the wound; but they destroy the privilege. In them our separate selves are pooled and we sink back into sub-individuality. But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like a night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.

 

In “An Experiment in Criticism” by C. S. Lewis

 

 

Anarcho-punk, extreme literature..... Beware the coming revolution.

 

All the best writers are anarcho-punks:

 

-          JJ Rousseau: A Discourse On Inequality

-          Thomas Payne: The Rights Of Man

-          Mary Wollstonecraft: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

-          Victor Hugo 'Les Miserables' set in the French Revolution in Paris.

 

Dostoevsky wrote his first novel 'The Poor Folk' aged 29. This resulted in him and his 3 co-radicals being sentenced to death by firing squad in the main public square in St Petersburg by the Tsar who was offended by their revolutionary contents. At the last second the Tsar commuted the punishment to 4 years hard labour in Siberia. Two of the writers went mad from this sadist act, but Dostoevsky kept on writing about being on death row, psychological torture, his time in jail and did so for the rest of his life. Orwell. 'Homage To Catalonia' set in Spanish Revolution in Barcelona where anarchists fight fascists.

 

 

If you're into literary criticism, read on.

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review 2016-06-06 00:00
Bel Canto
Bel Canto - Ann Patchett Reading this book is like going on a date with someone who is perfectly appropriate, but not enticing. It has all the elements of a good book: The writing is beautiful, sometimes to the point where it is called magical realism (I'm not so sure about that). The keen observations on human nature are there. I got the message of hostages and terrorists creating unexpected bonds, of finding beauty among repression, of art being an escape to reality...

I got it.

I just didn't like it.

It was only in the last third of the book that I actually got attached to some characters, and it prepared me to have the right emotions at the heartbreaking end. I gave the book an extra star for that.

I got disappointed at the Epilogue, it was beautiful, but a little contrived and there was a certain development that needed more explanation. For a work of such emotional complexity, it fell behind. Overall, I thought this book was very well executed, but a little too perfect, too artificial, like it was a huge exercise on writing well. It didn't feel honest.
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