Monday, April 4, 2011

Spotted: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Where: Q-train
Who was reading: Woman with a vast wool scarf wound around and around her neck, giving the impression that her head floated atop a fluff of black cotton candy.
Black cotton candy = licorice flavor? I'm queasy just thinking about it.
Fact: This book has been enthusiastically recommended to me by several persons of taste.
Fact: I have gone so far as to carry a copy to a variety of hemispheres (2).
Nevertheless… I have not read this book. I have not even pretended to have read it to impress others and appear more educated.
Why on earth did I pick up Madame Bovary first, allowing Bel Canto to fester in the luggage on that fateful journey to South America? I'm not quite sure, but I suspect my undergrad self believed Flaubert would be most effective as a tool to impress others and appear more educated. 
So even though the publisher says:"[it's] about love and opera, and the unifying ways people learn to communicate across cultural barriers in times of crisis" I may never know first hand the contents of the book. Just as I will never know what was running through the head of the woman in the scarf that looked like black cotton candy as she sat on the Q train reading Bel Canto.


  1. It's one of those books you see carried around by "people who love a good book from time to time". Like Jodi Picoult. People heavily into books are busy racing through five thousand years of literature and keep forgetting about any current writer that doesn't plaster his face on Oprah's couch.

    Like I say day...

  2. It really is a good book. Seriously, check it out! Love your blog.

  3. Yeah, I agree. Really do read it some day--it goes very quickly and is a lot more fun than Flaubert!

  4. It was nice stumbling on your blog. You have a lot of good selection to read on. Some of which I'll be reading soon, myself. Check out my entry on this book:

  5. BEL CANTO is a beautiful work that is poetic and beautifully written. It's not a quick read, but rather a book that is meant to be savored. It may not be a book for everyone. My guess is that some of the Amazon reviewers wanted a faster paced action novel and after reading were somewhat disappointed. BEL CANTO is not fast paced, but if you are looking for a work that plunges into the heart of humanity and shows people at their cores, you'll love BEL CANTO.