Thursday, April 03, 2008

50 Book Challenge #18: Bel Canto

I read this a while ago but haven't felt like writing a review. I was very conflicted about reading this book at first because it looked like something from Oprah's Book Club. My copy is from a library book sale. You can usually tell which popular books didn't stick by scoping out these sales: They are where contemporary lit fic goes to die.

In any case: the book. Books that heavily foreshadow their characters' endings are somewhat annoying. It always comes across as melodramatic. Yes, he might never see her like that again, but why tell me this fifty pages in? The entire hostage-taking enterprise is just an excuse for Patchett to play with something that straddles the gap between Stockholm Syndrome and magical realism. The love stories are overwrought and predictable. The descriptive passages are excellent, but a book resting on that alone can't sustain itself. Recommended with reservations (buy from a library book sale).
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