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Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
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Commonwealth (2016)

by Ann Patchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,394965,449 (3.92)119
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    LAKobow: Several families and the way their actions are intertwined.
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» See also 119 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Commonwealth has one of the most memorable opening chapters -
I immediately read it again to be sure no connections were missed.

Finding my first favorite character in the hospital was unexpected and sad.

Reading on, the rating dropped from a possible 5 to barely a 3,
yet it could rate quite high as a bible for Therapists to give to clients contemplating an affair.

Midway through the book, it felt like something was left out with Franny, Leon Posen, and the summer mansion:
how could she not have said ANYTHING about her new servant role when they were in bed each night and
why did she continue to accept it? Even low ambition and few goals don't account for this.
She took better care of the lobsters than of herself.

So much death and too many characters who don't make sense with all the ends tying up so neatly.

Kumar and kids end up as my favorite characters. ( )
  m.belljackson | Oct 18, 2017 |
A rambling narrative with lots of names, first names, traveling back and forth in time and in the end not saying very much. ( )
  charlie68 | Oct 13, 2017 |
For me, reading Patchett is always a pleasure. Commonwealth is an unusually complex narrative, back and forth in time across two intersecting families (with part of the novel's narrative becoming a novel within the novel). What I love most about Patchett is the compassion she brings to her characters, and the careful attention to their idiosyncratic natures. In this work, there is also the fascinating interplay between memory and experience, which makes the final paragraph especially powerful. (Brian) ( )
  ShawIslandLibrary | Oct 2, 2017 |
This tale of divorce, remarriage and combination families seems to be very self-consciously told. I would have liked a deeper involvement with the characters. It has the premise of an old time family saga, but told with modern skimpiness. ( )
  ritaer | Sep 13, 2017 |
I liked this book. At a party Bert who is married with 4 children meets Bev who is married with 3 children. They end up getting married and semi-blend the family. This covers several years in the story of these 2 families. 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. (less)
  taurus27 | Aug 31, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
...spans over 50 years, and the stories of how these children move uncertainly into adulthood — and how their parents adjust to the misfortunes that accrue — are painfully beautiful. (I went from bristling to weeping at 3 a.m.) Escaping the cage of your childhood can be one of the sublime miracles of growing up, though it sometimes requires more tools than the average jailbreak.
added by charl08 | editNew York Times
 
a compelling novel, full of characters who ring true.
added by charl08 | editFinancial Times
 
Patchett sucker-punches you, but leaves you feeling you had it coming – whether for underestimating her, or her characters, or humanity, is hard to say.

In particular, Commonwealth is one of the most discerning novels about siblings I can recall. One pair of stepsiblings share an equivocal bond: “In that sense the two of them had been a team, albeit a team neither one of them wanted to be on.”
added by charl08 | editThe Guardian (UK)
 

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ann Patchettprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bouvard, LaurenceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, HopeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
to Mike Glasscock
First words
The christening party took a turn when Albert Cousins arrived with gin.
Quotations
Half the things in this life I wish I could remember and the other half I wish I could forget.
The priest, whose mind was wandering like the Jews in the desert, tried to focus again on his sermon
You could see just a trace of the daughter there, the way she held her shoulders back, the length of her neck. It was a crime what time did to women.
When the six of them were together they looked more like a day camp than a family, random children dropped off on the same curb.
Caroline was a lot angrier than the rest of them. It was there in her voice all the time. Then again, it could have been that Cal was the angriest and his anger just manifested itself in different ways.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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