Ann Patchett is superb!
It starts with a kiss. A world famous soprano agrees to sing at a birthday party for a Japanese industrialist, in an unnamed country in South America. to be attended by many important people, including the President of said country. At the last minute, the President decides to stay home, watching his favorite soap opera. When a group of heavily armed men and boys burst into the gathering, planning to take the President hostage, only to find he is absent, they hold the entire party hostage. As time passes, they release the women, the old, and ill, keeping the strongest and most important men, as well as the soprano. Days turn into weeks, weeks to months, with no release in sight.The only calming influence is the golden voice of the singer. True colors are shown, friendships are forged, and hope wanes before the crushing ordeal ends with a bang, and an embrace.