I finished Bel Canto. The book relates a hostage situation in an un-named South American country. The hostage standoff lasts for a few months. During those months the hostages and their captors, a revolutionary gang, develop friendships and loves. There are no bad guys or girls in the book. The only bad guy is the government. The only personification of the government is one of the hostages. In the end the government raids the house where the hostages are being kept and kills most of the captors who have all – during the siege – become friends or lovers of the hostages.
The novel is one of the best I’ve read about friendship, love, and the power of art and music. Patchett has created wonderful characters of all nationalities and social and political classes all of whom come together while they are confined together to form a large sort of family. Talent, skill, genius, intelligence is not confined to one particular race, class, etc., it can pop-up anywhere as it does in this book. One young, uneducated gang member is a wonderful singer; another is a chess whiz; both untaught. A buttoned-up bureaucrat in a Japanese corporation is discovered to be a excellent pianist, something that even his fellow corporate executives did not know.
Read it. You won’t regret doing so. Four stars on Goodreads.