Bel Canto broke my heart.
There was a moment in the middle where I began to suspect that everything was too shiny to last, but I was too wrapped up to stop and leave well-enough alone. I fully expected to anti-love Canto, and I know quite a few of you have hated it, but I am full-body sighing right now. EW’s List of New Classics, you have re-entered my Circle of Trust. I forgive you every dud for bringing me this book.
Let’s synopsize, shall we? It’s Mr Hosokawa’s birthday, and because he’s rich and important, a small, unnamed South American country has thrown him a shindig and invited Roxanne Coss, the world’s only hot opera singer. Because she’s there, a hoard of other Rich and Important people accept the invitation to come, except for the president of said small, unnamed country.
And bully for him! Because a group of skinny but determined terrorists crashes the party! And locks everyone in! Boy are they pissed when they find that the president is at home watching soap operas instead of being kidnapped and ransomed for a great deal of political change. So! They release the women and children and servants, keep the hot opera singer and all the important men, and settle in to a several-months-long standoff with the Great Outdoors. Tedious!
Except bizarrely fabulous. I fell in love with this tiny closed community, Mr Hosokawa falls in love with the hot opera singer, his translator falls in love with one of the girl-terrorists, one of the hostages falls in paternal love with one of the clever boy-terrorists, the hot opera singer falls in mentorial love with a singing terrorist, and pretty soon, everyone is in love with everyone (often with sexy results)!
Of course, only in Shakespearean comedies and chick lit does all end well. I usually try my damndest to leave endings completely unspoilt, but friends, YOU WILL NEED KLEENEX! Unless you are one of those who totally hated this book, in which case you may have no soul. I’m not saying anything, I’m just, you know, positing. You have to catch these things early on.