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Bel Canto

Ann Patchett

Chapter Seven

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven, page 2

page 1 of 2

Summary

In the middle of November, the garua, or heavy fog, lifts, and everything seems bright. The generals clip out articles about the hostage situation from the newspapers, but the hostages have heard snippets on the TV news about a tunnel being dug underground to free them. The idea of a tunnel seems so far-fetched that no one believes it.

Coss sings with even greater beauty and intensity than she did before she became a hostage. She sings “as if she [is] saving the life of every person in the room.”

Watanabe and Carmen continue to meet in the china closet. Watanabe thinks about how wonderful and absurd it is that he has fallen in love with a woman not from one of the many big cities that he has visited, but from a village in the jungle. He marvels at the fact that his love dresses in army fatigues, carries a gun, and has taken him hostage.

One day Watanabe and Carmen are talking in the bathroom. Carmen suggests that they forget about the outside world and make this their home. Just then, Watanabe hears Fyodorov calling him and steps out of the bathroom to see what he wants. Fyodorov has finally summoned up his courage to declare his love for Coss. Watanabe doesn’t know about Fyodorov’s love, and he is reluctant to leave Carmen. But he agrees and sneaks back to tell Carmen he has to go. Before he leaves, Watanabe says that of course the siege will end. Carmen sheds a few tears, and Watanabe and Carmen kiss for the first time.

Watanabe and Fyodorov go to talk to Coss. Fyodorov is so nervous that he has to sit down. Nonetheless, he manages to give an eloquent speech. He begins to explain how moved he was by opera when he was a university student. Then he backs up and tells Coss about the precious art book his grandmother had. She would pull it out in the evenings and show her children and grandchildren how to appreciate beauty. In contrast to the struggles of most people living in the Soviet Union, the beauty of these paintings was overwhelming. Fyodorov tells Coss that he loves her, but he expects nothing in return. He just wanted to tell her. “Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. Don’t you think?” he asks.

Coss thanks him. Watanabe felt awkward during Fyodorov’s speech, but he notices that Coss doesn’t seem uncomfortable. He realizes that people have probably fallen in love with her throughout her life.

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