What makes a good book? If you derive pleasure out of reading it — or if you look back on it afterwards with pleasure? Bel Canto does the latter, but not the former, so I’m very mixed on this one.
The words and sentences are as beautiful as I’ve ever read, and Patchett continues to find depth in very mundane situations: “All the brilliant things we might have done with our lives if only we suspected we knew how.”
If only the story would have been more interesting, if only the pace hadn’t been so slow across most of its pages. If only it had been more stimulating. But then again, that is the nature of this book: “…as if the world had become a giant train station in which everything was delayed until further notice.”