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Extended Audio Sample Bel Canto Audiobook, by Ann Patchett Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (105,402 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ann Patchett Narrator: Anna Fields Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2004 ISBN: 9780060783280
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“Blissfully Romantic….A strange, terrific, spellcasting story.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Bel Canto…should be on the list of every literate music lover. The story is riveting, the participants breathe and feel and are alive, and throughout this elegantly-told novel, music pours forth so splendidly that the reader hears it and is overwhelmed by its beauty.” —Lloyd Moss, WXQR

“Glorious.” —The New Yorker

Ann Pratchett’s award winning, New York Times bestselling Bel Canto balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language. As in Patchett’s other novels, including Truth & Beauty and The Magician’s Assistant, the author’s lyrical prose and lucid imagination make Bel Canto a captivating story of strength and frailty, love and imprisonment, and an inspiring tale of transcendent romance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Patchett doing what she does best—What gives this novel its power is Patchett’s flair for sketching the subtleties of her characters’ behavior.” 

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Elegantly alluring…A novel that begins with a kiss and absolutely deserves one.” 

    New York Times

  • “The most romantic novel in years. A strange, terrific, spellcasting story.” 

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Patchett’s tragicomic novel—a fantasia of guns and Puccini and Red Cross negotiations—invokes the glorious, unreliable promises of art, politics, and love.” 

    New Yorker

  • Bel Canto invites readers to explore new and unfamiliar territory, to take some emotional risks rather than stand with Rolland among those already saved.’”

    Chicago Tribune

  • Bel Canto moves elegantly through its paces, captors and captivates alike stumble on that most elusive liberty: the freedom to be.” 

    New York Daily News

  • A 2003 Book Sense Book of the Year
  • Winner of the 2002 Orange Prize for Fiction
  • A 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • Winner of the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction
  • An Amazon Best Books of the Year

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fareesh | 2/13/2014

    " I could read this book a million times. I love the character development, the uniqueness of the story and the beautiful writing. This is absolutely one of my all time favorite books "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nina | 2/9/2014

    " shifting perspective adds to pathos. stays with you long after read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie Boggs | 2/8/2014

    " This is a story that continues to stay with me, despite having finished it a good eighteen months ago. The slow building of the plots, with the conclusion becoming more inevitable and yet more painful with the turning of each page; the strongly built characters with their individual voices that resonate long after the book is closed; the music that echoes throughout the chapters all combine to make it a masterful creation. I find myself thinking back to specific nights in the vice president's home as if they were my own memories, wondering how and when the tide could have been turned and the outcome changed. I listened to it on CD, which lent a great deal to its reality for me. The different languages and accents came alive in a way that they might not have had I met them on the printed page. Listening to it also forced me to appreciate the beauty of the language without allowing me to feverishly read for plot. I would recommend it without reservation to any lover of literature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 1/31/2014

    " I found the book to be entertaining. It was hard to get into and I thought the story was slow with few exciting moments. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jesus | 1/30/2014

    " Very moving. Patchett's masterful control of pacing and tone draw you into the drama and romance. She creates a dream then startles you awake. If this were a movie, it would be one of my favorite movies. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy Baldino | 1/8/2014

    " i really enjoyed this look at like as a captive and how you can sympathize with your captors but as her books go i loved "state of wonder "more!! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gena | 1/7/2014

    " Waste of time. Burn this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tiffany Hampton | 1/6/2014

    " AMAZING book :) I loved it so much. This was seriously one of the best books I had read in awhile when I read it (although it was before Twilight and the Huger Games and the 50 Shades trilogy). But it's up there too. Very well written and just such an amazing book. I HIGHLY recommend it :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristine | 12/6/2013

    " Good but not great. I suppose it's no surprise that a book that is largely about the tedium of being held hostage is at times itself tedious. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne | 11/30/2013

    " I liked this book, but it is a bit frustrating for some reason. The story is intriguing. As an Ann Patchett fan, I would rank it middling for her, but overall a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy Johnson | 11/13/2013

    " I read this years ago and did not re-read but skimmed because my book club just read. I loved this story about the relationships we develop with those we are surrounded by both good and bad. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cassandra Watson | 11/11/2013

    " Was not expecting that marriage! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 11/6/2013

    " Excellently written, well paced, and countless passages that are deserving to be remembered. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Olivia Jensen | 11/4/2013

    " The plot is intriguing. Human relationships are focused in a simple and up close way and made beautiful even in the hostage situation. Empathy is the star of this novel...and the writing is simply admirable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lizzie | 10/24/2013

    " one of the best books i have ever read "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie Cohen | 7/29/2013

    " Wow! Every sentence shines in this book. Had no real interest in reading it at first, did so when someone loaned it to me. And now it is one of my all time favorites. A must read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sheryl Gerrard | 7/15/2013

    " Our Book Club was disappointed in this book. We were all expecting great things, as it had been hyped by many reviewers, but the story was forgettable and anti-climactic. The ending was particularly dissatisfying. It was readable but I definitely felt let down at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Luke-mannarino | 12/4/2012

    " Interesting book, was totally surprised at the epilogue! Well developed characters, but moved slowly in the middle.....yet I suppose that was the point as time was going by and the stand off continued. Definitely worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 10/31/2012

    " After a slow,rough start, the story accelerates and then ends unexpectedly, "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorysa Cornish | 9/6/2012

    " Had trouble getting into this one, but once I did it was an easy read. Personally, I felt the ending didn't quite fit with the rest of the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Florentina Craciun | 4/20/2012

    " Slow to start, but really well written and easy to follow. The story is captivating and a very surprising ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daena | 4/4/2012

    " Captivating but predictable. I enjoyed the relationships between the characters but the epilogue seemed patched together and unsatisfactory. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lyn Elliott | 3/7/2012

    " A remarkable book; well deserved prize winner. Fascinating exploration of the development of relationships between hostages and captors and amongst the captors and the hostages over a period of several months. One of the most memorable books I read in 2012. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 2/17/2012

    " This book has the characters in a situation in which many would give up, but these people find a way to survive and interact with each other. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Reshma | 10/2/2011

    " After giving up this book several times, I picked this book yet again and this time I managed to read it. I have to admit that it took me 200 pages to really get into the story. It is a good book in writing and in plot with an awful climax, the epilogue was the biggest letdown! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ginny | 6/30/2011

    " One of those slow books where nothing really seems to happen, but it is so compelling that it is just impossible put it down. Patchett develops the characters so that the terrorists and the hostages become equally loved. A very enjoyable, smooth read.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 6/29/2011

    " I had been hearing about this book for several years from several circles, so I finally decided to give it a go. It was slow moving at the beginning, but picked up significantly toward the end. I definitely could not have predicted the outcome. A curious premise. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kernesa | 6/26/2011

    " Beautifully written, but too slow paced. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robert | 6/25/2011

    " Very well written but leisurely paced as we know what most likely happen from the start. Good juxtaposition of interest and boredom. Terrorists and captives go opposite directions on the scale. Contentment leads to affection. My copy had a great interview with the author in Back of the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn | 6/24/2011

    " Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is a gentle journey into the landscape of hunger, where terrorists expose their hearts and hostages nurture them. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dennis | 6/24/2011

    " A little slow out of the gate but one of the most engaging books I've ever read. Ann Patchett can write. I'd put her in the same class as Ian McEwan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 6/23/2011

    " Read this book years ago. Excellent. The reason I was interested in reading her new book.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie | 6/22/2011

    " Lots of accolades and not a bad story, but for some reason I just couldn't get into it. Think I only managed about a third. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 6/21/2011

    " Breathtakingly beautiful. I cannot speak to whether Bel Canto accurately depicts the political realities of certain Latin American nations, but I can say with confidence that Ms. Patchett renders human emotion and relationships impeccably. "

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About the Author
Author Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is the author of several previous novels including The Patron Saint of Liars, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Taft, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize; and The Magician’s Assistant. She has written for many publications including the New York Times, Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Vogue. She lives in Nashville.

About the Narrator

Kate Fleming (a.k.a. Anna Fields) (1965–2006), winner of more than a dozen Earphones Awards and the prestigious Audie Award in 2004, was one of the most respected narrators in the industry. Trained at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, she was also a director, producer, and technician at her own studio, Cedar House Audio.