by Ann Patchett
In BriefA birthday party and an opera recital are held in the Vice-President's mansion in a poor South American country. Suddenly terrorists storm the mansion, seeking the President who isn't there. A long hostage siege commences, leavened by a soprano's beautiful voice and some surprising relationships. But however close terrorist and hostage may grow, there can be no happy outcome to this perilous stand-off.
Why you should read itIf ever a book showed the humanity behind a terrorist's gun, this is it. Music and fellow feeling flow in equal measure through this beautiful, devastating novel. Audacious dreams, timid love, impractical hope - all flourish in the unlikely setting of an enforced imprisonment. Bel Canto is desperately sad yet undeniably uplifting. A transformational experience.