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Mondays are for reading: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

I’ve very little time to sit down and read these days, so reading has slowed down to a trickle.

But there’s a book I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time: Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett, winner of the Pen Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize, and a finalist of the National Book Critics Circle Award.

I’ve always loved the beauty and rhythm of the written language, but only seen it sustained over the length of a novel by very few writers. To see it combined with a heartbreaking, perceptive, human tale sensitively told is a still rarer treat, and in Bel Canto Patchett manages just that. To top it all, it is accessible and easy to read, unlike some beautiful books which took me the longest time to get into.

Bel Canto means a beautiful song, or, fine singing. The book is true to its name, both in its structure, its characters, and the writing.

I’m Ann Patchett’s latest fan, right behind the millions who’ve loved her books over the past decade.

If you need an absorbing read that would fill you with beauty and magic, and have not read Bel Canto yet, you know what to do.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Damyanti says:

    Thanks for dropping by, Talli. It Is a great book, the sort I hope I'm able to write some day, maybe decades from now!

  • Damyanti says:

    Kittie, you wouldn't be disappointed 🙂

    Suze I agree, I should have said more…I guess life is getting to me these days, eating into my blogging time, and I took a shortcut, by going to the heart of what I felt.

    The story is about what happens when a group of dignitaries are taken hostage by a south american terrorist organization: how people form human bonds across languages and nationalities, and how the hostages begin to relate to the terrorists, how they realize what Really counts, and how the event changes each character, both hostage and terrorist.

    Like with most good books, I find it is almost impossible to capture the beauty of this one in a summary.

    Pick it up and read a few lines, and you might like to go on.

  • Talli Roland says:

    Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the review!

  • Suze says:

    Would have liked to have read an eensy bit more about why you liked it- characters, story- that sort of thing.

    Though it appears your praise was enough to get Kittie reading. 🙂

  • I've heard lovely things about Ann Patchett for some time but haven't read any of her books. Thanks to your review, I going to read this book. You've described a certain beauty in prose that appeals.

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