A poor South American country un-named even by the end of the story is the focus of a group of terrorists who have held hostage for many months a group of people from many countries. The group had gathered to hear opera being sung at the birthday party of a Japanese financier and those who came for the show were all the wealthy of the land including the Vice President.
The Vice President was the let down as it was the President who was supposed to attend. To make matters even more farcical the President was not willing to miss his TV programme as he wanted to know what happened to Maria next so the entire onus of the hostage crisis fell on the VP who rose the occasion majestically.
The story centers around the opera singer Roxanne who entrances all who are around her including the terrorist guards who fall under her spell. How the group both the hostages and the guards are people with detailed, intricate, complicated lives and how these lives enmesh during these months are the base of the story.
The story is slightly surreal and you are reading it as if viewing from a distance. At the same time some of the characters are homespun and down to earth, while some of them whom one may think of as very high falutin are actually beginning to realize that for all their wealth they are mortal and an end could be in sight.
A brilliant story. A bit quiet in certain places and I did take more than a couple of days to finish the story but a good read.