Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

5826 Beautiful and tragic. I love the way time almost disappears in this novel – I couldn’t believe when I was halfway through and they were still in the house, although I don’t know where else I expected them to go. The book moves along nicely and flows wonderfully.

This book has been staring at me from the shelves at work for months and months, and I even picked it up and read the back a handful of times. I’m so glad I finally brought it home to read. It always amazes me when I read a book that I’ve been aware of for a while – it’s like all of those beautiful words and that fantastic story have been sitting there, waiting for me between those covers, and all I had to do was open it up and let them out – why on earth didn’t I do it sooner?

This novel is so subtle, and yet so powerful at the same time. The characters are developed gradually, and are nicely filled out by the end. Patchett’s pacing is almost perfect. You feel as though you’re trapped in the house with these characters, watching how they interact and change over time. You become an observer to an incredible example of human emotions and relationships.

I was a bit disappointed with the end – it seemed a little thrown together – but the rest of the novel makes up for that. One of the best I’ve read in the last year or so. It’s one of those books that leaves you thinking for days about the characters, the plot, why things happened the way they did, and what might have happened if they hadn’t. I really didn’t want to close it when I got to the end. Beautifully written, and a great study on misunderstanding, human interaction, and love.