Bel Canto Annotated Edition (November 5th, 2024)

Regular price $40.00

First published in 2001, Bel Canto is possibly Ann Patchett’s most beloved novel. Set in an unnamed South American country, at the home of the vice president, it is the story of a lavish birthday party honoring Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has enthralled the international guests with a mesmerizing performance. The evening is perfect—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But in Patchett’s skilled hands, what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion—and cannot be stopped.

Now, more than two decades after this bold and artistically daring novel’s debut, Patchett revisits her early work. In this special annotated edition, the acclaimed prize-winning author opens the story to readers, providing enlightening commentary on her original version, including reflections on her narrative choices and style. A mature writer looking back at her younger self, Patchett takes us deep into her creative process and considers her career and growth as an artist, from that novel to her most recent, Tom Lake.

Funny, full of insight, informal, and often unexpectedly moving, this annotated edition is an intimate encounter with a celebrated novelist, an opportunity to reconsider a great work through her eyes, and a guide for anyone who wants to understand how a novel takes form.