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This had a really promising start but ran out of steam quite quickly. The set up of the hostage situation was well done but it failed to keep my attention as nothing interesting happens after the initial set up right up until the last ten pages. This may have been the point but there are ways of making the mundane interesting but this was mostly dull. There were also too many characters and I didn't feel I got to know any of them. I would have preferred more focus on a select few as I was left wanting to know more about a couple of them. However, this was still a 3 star read for me as I did like the writing style and there were moments I really did like and hoped would develop. The ending was brilliantly written too, although I agree with the general consensus that the epilogue was unnecessary.
The book for the most part is very slow. The characters are not believable and it is difficult to engage with them . If you like opera you will be moved by the power of the music descriptions. If you think soprano singing sounds like nails on a blackboard, then this book will be lost on you. Unfortunately, I do not like opera so found large parts of the book mawkish and unbelievable. After chapter upon chapter of not very much action or dialogue ,the final 15% eventually got going and the ending was very good.
This was a book club choice I was not particularly looking forward to, but as I got into the book I found myself completely absorbed as the siege developed and the characters were fleshed out. However as the book progressed the story didn't. It ground to a halt before a climactic ending brought the book to a shuddering halt - followed by a bizarre (and unnecessary) epilogue. A shame.
Having just read "Commonwealth" which I found profoundly moving and sad, I was told by many readers that Bel Canto was better. For me, Bel Canto seemed detached from the characters,almost like a third-party narration. I realize that the semi-autobiographical nature of Commonwealth may have allowed the author to create characters which were easier to identify with than those in Bel Canto. However, it was that intimacy that I loved and I didn't find in this book. The premise and the writing were there but the engagement wasn't.
The volume was described as 'good' ,but was poor in my opinion. Had been on a bookshelf for years so browned pages and had user's name inscribed. Perfectly usable but in comparison with other volumes purchased recently not up to their standard