• Hardcover: 336 pages
• Publisher: Harper (September 13, 2016)
The acclaimed, bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families' lives.
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.
Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.
When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another.
Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.
Review: I always like when I can figure out a book's cover easily. You only have to read the first chapter to get your aha moment with this one. Yes, the oranges are significant.
This is a family saga, but not it the usual long tome format. You get snippets of how things change after a party.
I liked that this book didn't have a definite plot, which is interesting in itself.
There's a part close to the beginning of the book that really resonated with me. Franny is sitting in the doctor's office with her father as he is getting his chemo. It reminded me of the many Fridays that I spent in a similar office with my father, waiting to get his procrit shots for the blood disorder that he had.
There is one thing you can say about this book and that it is "real." The lives you see here are just like anyone that you might know. I think that is why I really loved this book.
I've never read anything by Ann Patchett before, but it will definitely not be the last book
Rating: 5 flowers
Photo by Melissa Ann Pinney
About Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett is the author of six novels and three books of nonfiction. She has won many prizes, including Britain's Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she is the co-owner of Parnassus Books.
Find out more about Ann on her website and follow her bookstore, Parnassus Books, on Twitter.