Several months ago I read Ann Patchett’s The Patron Saint of Liars: A Novel (P.S.) and, while somewhat interesting, it wasn’t what I had expected and I felt disappointed once I had finished it. It wasn’t until now that I felt comfortable picking up another of her books and, overall, I’m glad I waited this long.
That’s not to say Bel Canto (P.S.) left me with the same feeling as Patron Saint did. This is a beautifully written book. There was no action and at times it felt as if the story hovered over a period of a day or so instead of the weeks that it covered, but I think that’s only because that’s how it would have felt to the people caught in the midst of it all.
The story covers that of a Japanese businessman, an American opera singer, a translator, teenage boys and girls caught up in a terrorist movement beyond anything they could have imagined and more. A beautiful story about humanity, love, grief and life. The flow is so constant that I had a difficult time putting the book down, even though I was dreading how I knew things would have to end. But despite the dread, the author manages to capture a bit of hope and I desperately clung to it.
When I finished the book I finally felt as if I could exhale and begin to live my own life again. Although I was reading this when I made my list of the favorite books of ’09 I think I might just have to make an exception and add one more to the list.