Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Not a new book but one that is worth commenting on. After a few false starts (I always have to be in the right mood when approaching authors new to me), I really got into this book. The prose was rich and relaxed but the suspense was there throughout.
Katsumi Hosokawa, Japanese industrial magnate, is lured to a lavish birthday party at the home of the Vice-President of a South American country by the only thing that could possibly entice him to such an event: the chance to hear the internationally famous opera singer, Roxanne Coss. The cosmopolitan audience is captivated by her performance until they are captured by armed guerillas. Their plan is to kill the President, who has cancelled at the last minute, so the terrorists must improvise a new plan to negotiate for the lives of the important guests.
As the negotiations drag on, unexpected alliances are formed between guests, servants, terrorists and politicians, evolving into revelations of character, talent, motive, and history. Like the melody of a Bach fugue, weaving intricately in and out with tantalizing variations, the plot takes intriguing turns and resolves in a surprising yet totally satisfying denoument.
Patchett’s sweeping descriptions, unmistakeable love of opera, and amazingly vivid charachterizations carry the reader’s imagination in a compelling way throughout the story. Fascinating scenario!