Commonwealth

Commonwealth

A Novel

Book - 2016
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"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"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Harper, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062491794
0062491792
Characteristics: 322 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Jodi: My first Patchett novel. Really! I was quickly connected to many of the characters and found it hard to put down. It's engaging and a dramatic look at family dynamics.


From the critics


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r
reader2011
Aug 11, 2020

I tried to get into the story but just wasn't the style of writing I prefer, it was too choppy in many places and wasn't relaxing reading.

e
empbee
Oct 09, 2019

An interesting story about the complications of extended families. The characters are interesting, the turns of lives are captivating. The last fifty and some pages are stretched.

p
pridi_o
Oct 03, 2019

Interesting details of child abuse and neglect by incompetent parents. Interesting chapter on a book written about the book :) fun :). Interesting details of what middle class in the US could afford in terms of children, houses, airfare etc. Other than that, it reads like a bunch of gossip, especially at the end, surface-deep and, in places, unpleasantly addictive.

o
OP_2
Aug 26, 2019

Tea & Talk Book Club / November 2017

n
nalahblueberry5
Jun 01, 2019

I enjoyed this book a lot. Ann Patchett knows what she is doing.

TechLibrarian Jan 22, 2019

This has been on my "to read" list for a long time now, and finally, I got around to reading it last week. As I was just getting into it, I thought that it seemed autobiographical, so I did a little research and found that was indeed the case: this is Patchett's first autobiographical novel because as a young writer, she wanted to prove her imagination, and she only recently was comfortable in drawing on her own life experience. There is a unique twist, however, as there is a book-within-a-book plot device that opens up questions about writing about one's family. Commonwealth is a book about a book called Commonwealth, which reveals all the family secrets, some of which not everyone in the family are in on until its release. This isn't Patchett's finest work in my opinion, but like her others, the character development is awesome, and as family dramas go, Commonwealth is pretty superb.

multcolib_susannel Nov 27, 2018

What combination of parents and children does it take to make a family dysfunctional - more importantly- when does the dysfunction begin? Where does it end?

c
cwread15
Oct 10, 2018

As the number of pages left to read dwindled I realized I wanted to slow my reading because I would miss the characters Franny and Caroline so much. It is a big story with many characters leading complicated lives. Children deal with divorce, separation from a parent moved from the home they knew. Parents and children struggle with relationships. In the end I felt none of them did anything wrong. They lived life. Ann Patchett's writing engages the reader.

c
cathyingram
Jul 02, 2018

Patchett's stories are rich and layered. Always such a satisfying read!

e
eappelbaum
Feb 26, 2018

Enjoyed this book. In spite of a horrendous childhood, the 6 children turned out OK, mostly. The happy families you see on TV are not so common in real life.

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ArapahoeMaryA Jan 18, 2017

Franny gave her sister a tired smile. "Oh, my love," she said. "What do the only children do?"

"Half the things in this life I wish I could remember and the other half I wish I could forget."

"All the stories go with you, Franny thought, closing her eyes. All the things I didn’t listen to, won’t remember, never got right, wasn’t around for.

“Isn’t that what everyone wants, just for a moment to be unencumbered?

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