The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

Why Madison Violet's Brenley MacEachern feels this Ann Patchett bestseller hits the right note

The singer-songwriter is currently reading the 2001 novel Bel Canto.
Brenley MacEachern is one half of Toronto-based musical duo Madison Violet. (Kelly Cavanaugh)

The Juno-nominated musical duo known as Madison Violet — multi-instrumentalists Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac — have been recording and performing for over two decades. They have released seven studio albums, including 2019's Everything's Shifting

MacEachern told The Next Chapter that she's been part of a book club for 10 years. The book she's currently reading is the 2001 novel Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

"It's a story about a group of people who come from all over the world to this developing country in South America to attend a birthday party for a prominent businessman named Katsumi Hosokawa. They're throwing this event to entice him to make a large investment in the country.

I loved the way Ann Patchett told this story. She almost told it like an operatic performance.- Brenley MacEachern

"They also know that the businessman is a devoted fan of opera, so they've hired opera singer Roxane Coss to perform. Just as Coss sings her last note, the lights flicker out and the entire room is taken over by a group of terrorists. The government tries to negotiate but months go by and they can never reach a peaceful agreement.

"I loved the way Ann Patchett told this story. She almost told it like an operatic performance. One minute, it's violence and terror. The next minute, there's this beautiful love story unfurling. I also loved this book because the reason why all these people come together is to hear an opera singer and to hear music. Music becomes a cause that brings them together despite their differences. Music is the unifier."

Brenley MacEachern's comments have been edited for length and clarity. 

Watch for the video for the song Tell Me by Madison Violet


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?