In terms of storyline I was a little disappointed with this novel. It started out strong, detailing a lavish birthday party held in an unknown South American country in honor of Mr. Hosokawa - who was reluctant to agree to the party until he was informed "the promised gift was the presence of Roxane Coss". Roxane Coss, a famous opera singer, had influenced Mr. Hosokawa so much he believed that "life, true life, was something that was stored in music".
The party is eventually taken over by terrorists hoping to kidnap the president of the host-country who, they soon find out, isn't in attendance. Consequently the guests of the party are held hostage for months on end.
Although the writing is beautiful and the overall themes are touching, I can't help but think there was something lacking in the execution of the storyline. I need more than just beautiful writing to get wrapped up in a story. Yes there is love and beauty that ensues from this unlikely situation, however the plot drags along and there are certain details that are hard for me to believe (it becomes a little too happy-go-lucky considering it's a hostage situation). In addition, I felt the epilogue didn't fit with the story and left me feeling angry. Patchett should have left her conclusion to the final chapter.