Ann Patchett's Bel Canto forces readers to think about community and the diverse communal nature of our transnational society. This may seem difficult in a book about terrorists taking hostages at a birthday party. But is it just such trauma, the international cast, and the unique foundations on which the cast of characters is brought together that offer the most poignant questions. The uncertainty, the temporary nature of the situation, and the connections across various boundaries add to the mix.
What constitutes a community and binds it together in the contemporary world? What roles/subject positions are most vital to a transnational community? Are fleeting communities always formed out of trauma, temporary and necessary to escape a distinct threat?