Monday, May 29, 2006

BBC: Bel Canto (Day 1)

Hello there, chickies (not sure if that applies to both men and women, but I’ve been dying to say that for weeks LOL, so please, bare with me)!

I wish I had more time to write and go into details of how wonderful Bel Canto is—and how in love I fell with Ann Patchett’s magical writing when I first read it a couple of years ago. But alas, I have so many things to do today, I doubt the measly 24 hours we are granted per day will be enough. *sob* Let’s go straight to the questions then.
  • What is it about Roxane Coss that makes such an impression on the other hostages and the terrorists? Is it merely that she is famous? How does her singing and the music relate to the story?
  • Roxane and Mr. Hosokawa speak different languages and require Gen to translate their conversations. Do you think it’s possible to fall in love with someone to whom you cannot speak directly?
P.S. You better answer, you lazy wenches, or the wrath of Harlot will fall upon your heads, and there will be a drought of eye-candy until the next BBC! Hmmph!


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22 comment(s):

Blogger Petra said...

1. Roxanne is loved by many because of her voice. (of course the fact that she's pretty played a role too). Father Arguedas even said, when Roxanne sung Ave Maria, that her voice is so pure, it opened up the ceiling and carried their petitions directly to God, LOL. I think Patchett's ideas are quite clear: that music brings people together and that its beauty brings hope into people's lives.

2. I believe it is possible. You don't always have to speak to show someone you love him/her. Besides, nothing is impossible with love. Right? :)

5/29/2006 12:39:00 PM  

Anonymous Vixen said...

1. I agree with Petra that it's Roxanne's voice. Everyone adores her from the first time they hear her voice, whether as a guest at the party or in the air conditioner vents. Then as they become a group, trapped in the house they don't all speak the same language but through Roxanne's voice and the music she sings they all become familiar with one language. I don't think it's necessarily that she is so famous, other than the fact that she is clearly well known for her voice, I think it's in the way she carries herself as well. She exudes confidence, compassion and goodness. The hostages and the soldiers all have hope for something good in the future and Roxanne gives off such a sense of hope that they fall in love with her for giving them that hope.

2. As a romantic I like to think it is possible for two people to fall in love without being able to speak the same language. Words can so easily get in the way of communication. Without words you are forced to communicate in other ways, through a look or a gesture that the feelings could be more clear and stronger.

I just finished Bel Canto this morning. I think I would like to re-read, I feel like I might have missed some things.

Does anyone know how much time passed between the last chapter and the epilogue? I might have missed that.

I think I remember Trollop saying there will be more questions, am I remembering that right? I would like to talk more about a few points in the book but I think I should wait until I see the rest of the questions.

Wow, long winded today. LOL

5/29/2006 02:46:00 PM  

Anonymous litman said...

I came upon this blog and saw this topic. I've just reread Bel Canto and here's what I think of it. The novel is actually a love story, but not a conventional one. True, people fall in love, in very convincing and very achingly beautiful ways. But the love story in this novel is about the love of music.

Roxanne Coss, the world's pre-eminent soprano, is the pivot around which the plot moves. She captivates the rich Japanese businessman Hosokowa, but she also entrances the other wealthy industrialists, the politicos, the terrorist generals, and even the uneducated peasants who comprise the terrorist troops. What's fascinating about the book is that Patchett does not try to describe Coss's singing. Instead, she marvelously describes the impact of the music upon the listeners.

Eventually, we are engrossed by these diverse characters, so convincingly alive have they become. Patchett even manages to draw us into their fervent desire for outcomes that cannot ever occur. And the novel's ending comes as abruptly as it must, breaking the spell of the beautiful song Patchett has been singing.

5/29/2006 05:13:00 PM  

Blogger nica ha said...

since Roxane wasn't known really at all by the terrorists, i don't think it was her being famous that they loved so much. i think Patchett was trying to say that music can effect anyone no matter is you understand the words or not. her music ties the story together because everyone loves it and marvels that something that sounds so beautiful is also coming from a woman who is beautiful.

i'd also like to think that people who don't speak the same language could fall in love, but i think an extreme situation like this helps a little with something like that to happen. you'd eventually both have to learn a language that both of you know though, you couldn't have a translator for your entire lives.

this was definitely a great book, i cna't wait to talk about it more ;D

5/29/2006 06:27:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Okay, first, let me make this clear: i think Ann Patchett's style of writing is great.

Now, the book is about opera, which i have to say, unlike Trollop, i'm not cultured enough to be into LOL. I know nothing about opera except that people sing Italian music and they all seem to have these powerful voices with lyrics i cannot understand. They could be singing already that Raoul is too loco, can't-eat/sleep-kinda-thing loco about me and i still wouldn't understand. Thank god i already know that Raoul's crazy about me. ;)

Roxanne Coss, apparently, has a "magical" voice that makes EVERYONE falls in love with her. *rolleyes* Off course, she's beautiful too LOL. I just find it hard to believe that she is THAT good (really?) that people put her on pedestal like she's the best thing since slice bread. *snort* When someone's music/performance touch you, you applaud, even cry yes, but i doubt that you'll fall head over heels in love with the performer. Okay, Roxy sings well, she's pretty, has hair like angel yada yada. I GET IT. But for me, that's just a bit unrealistic that someone's voice would be so impactful. Of course, what do i know? I love American Idol.

Next, people fall in love everyday with the craziest reasons. Speaking is not the only way to show someone what you feel/think about him/her. People can communicate with body language, through touch, etc. Not to mention i think love is always too powerful to be stopped. So is it possible to fall in love with someone you can't speak to directly? Yes, i believe so.

5/29/2006 06:39:00 PM  

Anonymous E said...

Patchett, in a display of literary virtuosity, brings the characters in "Bel Canto" to brilliant life. With wit, humor and pathos, the author shows how living in close quarters with strangers sometimes brings out the best in people. Mr. Hosokawa, who is usually a businesslike automaton, blossoms into a sensitive and caring individual under the influence of Roxanne and her lovely music.

Patchett touches on many themes in "Bel Canto," such as the power of glorious music to touch our souls and the importance of seeking beauty and romance in our lives. Since the world we live in is sometimes a barbaric place, it is not always possible for peace and love to flourish. Therefore, Patchett seems to be saying, it is vital to seize those rare moments in our lives when we can enjoy everything that is wonderful and amazing around us.

-E

5/29/2006 06:53:00 PM  

Anonymous Ollenska said...

I loved this book! But then I got to the ending and that was bad, LOL.

Anyway I agree with Nica about music tying everything together and that it helped such a beautiful woman like Roxanne became its bridge. But I think Harlot has a point, LOL. Now that I think about it, it seems unrealistic how everyone in this book is "overtaken by the power of opera". Roxanne's singing may be nice, but it doesn't seem to matter that she's singing opera as opposed to Britney Spears. Most of the people who heard her didn't even know Italian so they were just soothed by the quality of her voice. She could have been singing nursery ryhmes and it wouldn't have mattered. In tthe end, I'm not convinced that opera is all that great. Well I guess you can say it's all about the power of music in general to tame the savage beasts.

Vixen, I have the same question about the epilogue. It was mentioned though that it happened in May.

Olly

5/29/2006 07:24:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

Roxane Coss is unlike any opera singer known to mankind in that she arises early every morning to sing, and, can sing or perform practically ANYTHING (she runs the gamut from "La Sonnambula" and "Barber of Seville" to "Tosca" and "Norma", of all things. The only thing she missed was "The Bell Song and Brunhilde").

Patchett has written an interesting story, I guess it just bothered me that she took a LOT of artistic liberties with reality. I think Harlot and Ollenska agree with me. :P

5/29/2006 07:48:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

I'm sorry I can't participate. :( I have yet to read Bel Canto. I know I should have gotten the book already blech.

Anyway I love reading this discussion :)

5/29/2006 08:41:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

Oh by the way, when is the next BBC going to be? And may i inquire about the next book so I can participate enxt time. :P (I didn't know at first what the heck does BBC stands for. Duh'!)

5/29/2006 08:43:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

K, I'm sorry I keep interrupting everybody, LOL. Just one last question. Is "Bel Canto" mainly about opera? Because that's what I got from the comments. I don't think a book that focuses on opera is something I would like...

5/29/2006 08:51:00 PM  

Blogger Rachel said...

Hi everyone. I too have yet to read "Bel Canto". But I want to answer Trollop's second question.

My boyfriend has speech impediment. Yet even before I learned how to sign, I think I've already fallen in love with him. He is just the sweetest guy. Not to mention I find him extremely hot. :P There were times I didn't know what he wanted to tell me, but somehow I understood, and felt him. So my answer is yes, it's very possible to fall in love with someone whom you can't speaking directly. All one needs really is to feel.

Love your blog, book bitches. :)

5/29/2006 09:38:00 PM  

Blogger Lorelei said...

Isabella, I believe BBC is monthly and announcement is every first or second week of the month? LOL You should check that out with Trollop or Harlot.

Anyway, "Bel Canto" isn't just about opera. It's about love and people's evolving relationship with each other. You hsould try it.

Rachel, such a sweet story you have. :)

5/29/2006 09:52:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Isabella, BBC is once a month. Don't know yet what's going to be the next book LOL. Trollop and i have to talk about that. But we announce it every first day of the month, then discussion last week of the said month. Hope you can join us next time. :)


Welcome Rachel. :D I love your story! *sigh* And i agree. Sometimes, all you need is to feel. ;) So, err, this BF of yours, does he has an equally extremely hot brother you can introduce to us? :D

5/29/2006 09:58:00 PM  

Blogger Vicious Trollop said...

I first read this book about 4 years ago and fell in love with both patchett's writing style and with the characters.

I wasn't into Opera before I read it, can't really say I'm into opera now LOL, but I do listen to some pieces that I have come to love with passion.

In the beginning I found the book confusing, and must admit, a bit boring. I kept imagining Roxanne as a fat/ugly fuck LOL If you notice she is only described through her music, there is no real description of her as beautiful (that I can recall) anything besides her height and hair color is expressed in relation to the feelings she evokes through her singing.

I was trying to explain to Harlot about how I feel at concerts. If a singer is charismatic and has great stage presense, you get sucked in to the point where you fall a bit in love with him, like his music more and become more obsessed with the persona he represents. It's happened to me more than once, that not even liking the artist all that much, I go to a concert and leave head over heals with the singer(s) because the performance was great. So yes, I understand where the adoring hostages are coming from.

I think with Rox and the situation these people are going through it's more than her being famous that captures everyone. Its that through her music is the only way they are trully joined as one. Regardless of nationality, wealth, sex, language, they can all understand beauty, they all understand music even if they don't know the words. What else was there to make all these different people bond in that mansion? They had nothing else in common, but at least for a couple of hours a day, they could all sit and know that every single person in that room was feeling the same thing they were; they didn't need a translator for that.

I think in the circumstances Rox and Hosokawa met, they not speaking the same language, would probably not be a big problem, but I doubt that would work in real life. Can you imagine not being able to fight with someone because they don't understand you? LOL I'd go crazy if I couldn't bitch at bf during PMS. I want him to understand every word out of my mouth LOL

5/29/2006 10:00:00 PM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Babe, i think Roxy has dark hair? LOL Can't remember too. Just that it's long and curly. The author repeatedly said though that she is beautiful.

Anyway, have no idea about all the titles Lorelei mentioned. :S This is one of my MANY PROBLEMS about the book. Many terms/names related with opera were mentioned and since i'm clueless about it, can't follow. :/

And yes, the book is boring! Oh gawd! I only read this because if i won't, Trollop will strangle me. This won't even make my top 50. :S

5/29/2006 10:47:00 PM  

Blogger kinky courtesan said...

I'm not done!!! i'm not done!!

5/30/2006 01:31:00 AM  

Anonymous Vixen said...

Will we be talking about the ending, epilogue in a different discussion or can I get into that here?

5/30/2006 08:18:00 AM  

Blogger Harlot said...

Yes Vixen. :) Next set of questions will be up in a while. I have a lot of complains too! :P

5/30/2006 08:23:00 AM  

Anonymous Vixen said...

Thank God! LOL.
I've been dying to get into that! Tks, Harlot! I'll be back later...

5/30/2006 08:29:00 AM  

Blogger Aggie said...

I confess I have not read the book. The only excuse that I have is that I've been extremely BUSY spreading The Wanker in Nutella and going cross-eyed licking him to death.
I'm a shallow bitch ... I know!

5/30/2006 06:17:00 PM  

Blogger kinky courtesan said...

Music is good for the soul... Roxanne makes a mark because of the music... not for being famous... not for being pretty but for music.... I'm sure that everyone sometime in their life has had an experience with music that was just breath taking. Being a singer I get the tingly prickly feelings all over my body when something truly beautiful and magical is heard.
Yes it is possible to fall in love without speaking the same language. You can tell how a person carries themselves, how they react to certain situations, every little thing that falls under body language is telling what kind of person they are. Also, if you listen to how the person says something, the emotion in their voice gives away everything. Plus the words are still from the heart, no matter if they are spoken for someone through someone else. i think that makes sense....

6/01/2006 12:07:00 AM