Friday Favourite: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Welcome! Happy Friday! Friday Favourites are where I spend one Friday a month talking about a book I’ve read and loved in the past.


Ann Patchett is that rare author who straddles the line between literary and popular fiction. By which I mean, she’s approachable and readable for that reader off the street who might not consume much fiction annually and at the same time her writing is deep and smart and clever.

I let her take up a lot of space on my shelves, so you know she's good!
I let her take up a lot of space on my shelves, so you know she’s good!

Bel Canto is Patchett’s fourth novel and definitely her most famous. It is dark and funny and fascinating and heartbreakingly sad. Set in an unnamed South American country in the middle of a hostage situation, Patchett crafts a surprisingly beautiful story. It’s a story about language, love, music, culture, politics – it’s kind of amazing how much Patchett fits in. And even now, after multiple reads, the ending still brings me to tears.


If you’ve read Bel Canto already I highly encourage you to delve into the rest of Patchett’s writing. My second favourite by her would be her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. I also really enjoyed her collection of essays, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage.

Previous Friday Favourites:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje

7 thoughts on “Friday Favourite: Bel Canto by Ann Patchett”

  1. This is great! I’m always looking for good book recommendations. Are all her books sad though? I can’t handle the emotions :p can you recommend a happy book for me? 🙂

    1. I don’t think Patron Saint of Liars is sad. (Though I haven’t re-read it in a while and it does have pregnancy/baby stuff in it and I find I’m more sensitive about those types of things since Pearl was born. Maybe you’re tougher than me?)

      “In the Skin of a Lion” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude” are also excellent and not overall sad books. Just some sad parts. I also love “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson, which is a beautiful, thoughtful book with a lot of Christian themes. I think a lot of my favourite books are sad though…

  2. This book has been on my too-read list since I read her novel “Run”. I loved it, but apparently it’s nothing compared to “Bel Canto”. I really needed a kick in the butt to get started. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Read it! I love all of Patchett’s novels but if you loved “Run” then I think you’ll really love her others.

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