The party at the home of the vice president of an unidentified South American country is well under way. Political dignitaries, the president of a Japanese electronics corporation, and a comely opera singer are unaware of the terrorists lurking in the air-conditioning vents overhead. The reader experiences a flutter of panic. But rest assured that Patchett (”The Magician’s Assistant”) is too subtle an author to write a hammy thriller. Ostensibly the story of a months-long hostage crisis, Bel Canto is more a meditation on the unlikely allegiances that form in extreme circumstances. An elegant businessman plays chess with his teenage captor; a soprano unites a divided room with Puccini. One approaches the final pages with a heavy heart for several reasons, not the least of which being that this fine read has come to an end.
Get your EW TV news
Subscribe to EW TV for the latest TV news.