Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bel Canto and Fragile

I read Bel Canto for one of my book groups this month.  I don't think that I had read any books by Ann Patchett before. And I am not sure if I will read another one now or not, but I think that I will.

Bel Canto is a story about relationships during a hostage situation.  It takes place in an un-named country in South America where a famous opera singer, Roxanne Coss, is appearing and performing for Mr. Hosokawa, a Japanese businessman, who is celebrating his birthday.  The party begins elegantly, until suddenly terrorists appear, planning to take the President of the country as a hostage.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on who you were, The President had not come to the party, so all the guests are taken as hostages.  The guests who are not deemed as necessary for the cause are released, leaving about 60 hostages, representing various countries.

As the months pass, relationships develop between the hostages and the terrorists, many of whom are young adults and seemingly fairly innocent. I found the development of the relationships interesting and the author did a good job developing the various character, although, honestly, I did not find myself especially caring about anyone of them in particular.

I had a difficult time getting into the book until about the middle of it.  Then I was terribly disappointed with the ending of the hostage situation, and even more disappointed with the Epilogue.

So would I recommend the book?  I'm not sure.  Half of my book group LOVED the book, the other half felt as I did.  I will admit that the book made for great discussion for the group!  Since I felt like Ms. Patchett did so well with character development, I probably will read another one of her books, which I have sitting on my To-Be-Read pile already!

Fragile by Lisa Unger came out last year, and I was happy to borrow it from my daughter to read.   The story is about Charlene, a girl gone missing in a small town, that brings up memories for the adults of another young girl, Sarah, who went missing years ago and was found dead.  The story does a good job combining the adults who were friends of Sarah's and their children who are friends of Charlene. Charlene is the girlfriend of Ricky, who is the son of Jones and Maggie Cooper.  Jones is the lead detective on the case, and Maggie is a psychotherapist who works with adolescents and families.  Both Jones and Maggie had been friends with Sarah and now, their son is involved with another girl's disappearance.

I loved how the two stories were intertwined in the book.  And I was intrigued to read Chapter One of Ms. Unger's next book, Darkness, My Old Friend that was featured at the end of Fragile.  It is about Jones Cooper, taking place a year after the story in Fragile!  Definitely on my To-Be-Read list!

1 comment:

Bybee said...

I have had this book on my TBR for several years -- Bel Canto, I mean, but I've shyed away from it for some reason.