Commonwealth (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Ann Patchett tells the story of a family and its disintegration, caused by one small occurrence. A kiss between a man and a woman who are each married to other people, is the catalyst for the destruction of two relationships and then the reblending of their families. Beautifully written with skillfully wrought characters; this is one of Patchett's best.

— Sharon K. Nagel

D.A. Bert Cousins shows up at L.A. policeman Fix and wife Beverly Keating’s house for a christening party, bearing gin. He’s not really invited, but he’s desperate to get away from his own four kids. A chance encounter shakes up the family dynamics forever, but it’s the encounter that one of the kids has with a famous writer that really changes everyone’s lives. In a novel that draws more off her own life experience than any of her previous works, Ann Patchett deftly unravels the complicated bonds of a blended family, the stories they tell, and the thin line between truth and legend. Rejoice, Patchett fans!

— Daniel Goldin

September 2016 Indie Next List

“Patchett leaves behind the exotic locales and intricate plots of State of Wonder and Bel Canto for an even darker and more difficult place to navigate -- the interior of a blended family over the course of several decades. While more domestic than many of her previous novels, Commonwealth offers plenty of intrigue and surprises as Patchett explores the interaction of a group of children forced into each other's lives because of their parents' impulsive choices. With keen insight, tears of both sorrow and joy, and some real -- if dark -- humor, Patchett pulls readers into this complex family's world, and we are eager for every detail.”
— John Christensen (W), Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI


#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.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780062491794
ISBN-10: 0062491792
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: September 13th, 2016
Pages: 336
Language: English