Bel Canto was Ann Patchett’s fourth book. It took her much studying of opera to write her book. She says that prior to writing Bel Canto she knew as much about opera as much as she did about baseball, which is nothing. Her goals for the book were to write it as a structured opera, with the main and maid characters, mezzo roles and a big chorus. Her book received the orange prize for fiction, and was also a National Book Critics Circle award Finalist.
In Bel Canto, a successful Japanese man goes to South America where his birthday party was to be held. Attending the party would be the president and a famous opera singer, Roxanne Coss. At the party a band of terrorist plotted to kidnap the president, who did not attend with short notice to watch his soap opera. The terrorist, confused, did not know what to do so they held the party hostage. The terrorist let out all women and sick people; they only kept the rich or some what “important” people in, Roxanne was the only woman kept hostage. There was also the translator Gen, who was pretty much the most important person in the room since he could speak almost every language that needed to be spoken in the hostage mansion between both the hostages and terrorist.
As the hostages and terrorist spent time together, their emotions opened up to each other, which was something they were not use to, creating unique bonding between everybody. Gen and the girl terrorist Carmen both loved each other and shared the passion of learning languages. Gen would teach Carmen in the china closet every night. Gen in the beginning, was not very open with his emotions toward anyone. But getting to know Carmen’s eagerness to learn more and more, made him fall in love with her. They started to constantly study less and less while they made love more and more. They fixed that later on so Carmen could learn as much as they first started. Patchett wanted this bond to show the connections people go through to fall in love, and the emotions one go through while n love.