A family drama with an odd twist, Commonwealth is beautifully done. What would you do if you met your favorite author? What would you share with them? For Franny the answers to these questions affect the rest of her life in a way she never expected. Two families — torn apart by infidelity and forced together in a different configuration — face the future from a radically changed past. Patchett writes a deeply felt story of heartbreak, family, opportunity, privacy, and empathy. Lovely! Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
#1 New York Times Bestseller
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.
"Patchett’s slyly knowing voice – full of wit and warmth – elevates every page of this novel – one that, through the alchemy of her writing, somehow feels more than the sum of its parts." Newsday
"The genius of the way Patchett approached Commonwealth is that it’s constructed like a puzzle… Maybe it’s another case of the tried-and-true adage: "Write what you know." Because this book? It’s pure gangbusters." San Francisco Chronicle
"Patchett’s storytelling has never seemed more effortlessly graceful. This is minimalism that magically speaks volumes…" Washington Post
"Exquisite... Commonwealth is impossible to put down." New York Times
"The prose is lean and inviting…A satisfying meat-and-potatoes domestic novel from one of our finest writers." Kirkus (Starred Review)
"…a funny, sad, and ultimately heart-wrenching family portrait…Patchett elegantly manages a varied cast of characters…[Patchett is] at her peak in humor, humanity, and understanding people in challenging situations." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
About the Author
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.