Bel Canto

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Now a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe.

New York Times Bestseller

Ann Patchett’s award winning, bestselling novel that balances themes of love and crisis as disparate characters learn that music is their only common language—now a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe.

“Blissfully romantic…. A terrific, spellcasting story.” — San Francisco Chronicle

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing.

It is a perfect evening—until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.

 

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A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, comes Ann Patchett’s most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are.

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Mar 17, 2009
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780061738883
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

From Jamie Ford, author of the beloved Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, comes a much-anticipated second novel. Set against the backdrop of Depression-era Seattle, Songs of Willow Frost is a powerful tale of two souls—a boy with dreams for his future and a woman escaping her haunted past—both seeking love, hope, and forgiveness.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
 
Twelve-year-old William Eng, a Chinese American boy, has lived at Seattle’s Sacred Heart Orphanage ever since his mother’s listless body was carried away from their small apartment five years ago. On his birthday—or rather, the day the nuns designate as his birthday—William and the other orphans are taken to the historical Moore Theatre, where William glimpses an actress on the silver screen who goes by the name of Willow Frost. Struck by her features, William is convinced that the movie star is his mother, Liu Song.
 
Determined to find Willow and prove that his mother is still alive, William escapes from Sacred Heart with his friend Charlotte. The pair navigate the streets of Seattle, where they must not only survive but confront the mysteries of William’s past and his connection to the exotic film star. The story of Willow Frost, however, is far more complicated than the Hollywood fantasy William sees onscreen.
 
Shifting between the Great Depression and the 1920s, Songs of Willow Frost takes readers on an emotional journey of discovery. Jamie Ford’s sweeping novel will resonate with anyone who has ever longed for the comforts of family and a place to call home.

Praise for Songs of Willow Frost
 
“If you liked Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, you’re going to love Songs of Willow Frost. . . . tender, powerful, and deeply satisfying.”—Lisa Genova
 
“[A] poignant tale of lost and found love.”—Tampa Bay Times
 
“Arresting . . . [with] the kind of ending readers always hope for, but seldom get.”—The Dallas Morning News
 
“[An] achingly tender story . . . a tale of nuance and emotion.”—The Providence Journal
 
“Ford crafts [a] beautiful, tender tale of love transcending the sins people perpetrate on one another and shows how the strength of our primal relationships is the best part of our human nature.”—Great Falls Tribune
 
“Remarkable . . . likely to appeal to readers who enjoy the multi-generational novels of Amy Tan.”—Bookreporter
 
“Jamie Ford is a first-rate novelist, and with Songs of Willow Frost he takes a great leap forward and demonstrates the uncanny ability to move me to tears.”—Pat Conroy
 
“With vivid detail, Jamie Ford brings to life Seattle’s Chinatown during the Depression and chronicles the high price those desperate times exacted from an orphaned boy and the woman he believes is his mother. Songs of Willow Frost is about innocence and the loss of it, about longing, about the power of remembered love.”—Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank
 
“Ford’s boundless compassion for the human spirit, in all its strengths and weaknesses, makes him one of our most unique and compelling storytellers.”—Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
“Tragic and redemptive . . . Updike had Rabbit, Roth has Zuckerman, Richard Ford has Bascombe and Begley has Schmidt. . . .  [Schmidt Steps Back] is the most ambitious novel [yet] in the Schmidt cycle.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
Full of dark humor, compassion, and heart, Schmidt Steps Back is the most romantic installment yet of the drama that began with the acclaimed About Schmidt. Now seventy-eight, and just as passionate, sharp, and endearingly prickly as ever, Albert Schmidt faces a life alone, with only the crumbs of grandfatherly status and a less-than-demanding position at an international organization to sustain him. His only hope is Alice Verplanck, the French widow of a former partner, as elusive as she is beautiful. Whether his rusty seduction skills can lure her from Paris to the Hamptons won’t be known, though, until Schmidt endures one more ordeal by fire. Hilarious, engrossing, and deeply poignant, Schmidt Steps Back is Louis Begley’s finest novel yet.
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Louis Begley's Memories of a Marriage.

Praise for Schmidt Steps Back
 
“Engaging . . . Begley gets as close to Schmidt as a diarist, inhabiting this man who has been seasoned by a long life.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Begley gets inside Schmidt’s fertile WASP brain . . . with subtlety, intelligence, and wit.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer
 
“The novel grows in Begley’s excellent intricacy . . . to the level of art rather than manners. . . . One cannot read one of the Schmidt novels without laughing.”—San Francisco Chronicle   
 
“Thoroughly absorbing . . . [a] cause for celebration.”—Salon
 
“[A] superb tragicomedy . . . seductive, subversive, and commanding.”—Booklist (starred review)
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