Monday, August 16, 2010

It Took 110 Pages...

...for me to throw Ann Patchett's Bel Canto against the wall. By that time, I had realized I did not give a damn whether the terrorists lined up the hostages and gunned them down one by one. In fact, I was hoping they would, just so the book would end.

I can point to a few musical points that made me think Patchett just doesn't know much about opera - her star soprano sings Sonnambula three days in a row and also has Tosca in her repertory - plus there's a Spanish error that even I could spot, and what I think is a borderline error of medical fact - but what pushed me over the edge is that I really did not care one bit about any of the characters or what happened to them.

Putting it another way, I am simultaneously reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Way We Live Now - very different books! - and I'd be happy to be stuck on a train chatting with any character in those books. If I were stuck with any of the characters from Bel Canto, I'd push them onto the tracks.

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