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Commonwealth: A Novel by Ann Patchett
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Commonwealth: A Novel (original 2016; edition 2017)

by Ann Patchett (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9451763,647 (3.87)194
"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"-- "Commonwealth is the story of two broken families and the paths their lives take over the course of 40 years, through love and marriage, death and divorce, and a dark secret from childhood that lies underneath it all"--… (more)
Member:Kheiman1
Title:Commonwealth: A Novel
Authors:Ann Patchett (Author)
Info:Harper Perennial (2017), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:None

Work Information

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett (2016)

  1. 10
    After This by Alice McDermott (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These literate family sagas follow American Catholic families through the decades. Commonwealth portrays two families that break apart and come back together in new combinations, while the drama in After This stems from a changing world.… (more)
  2. 10
    The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney (Micheller7)
  3. 10
    A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (figsfromthistle)
  4. 01
    Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (LAKobow)
    LAKobow: Several families and the way their actions are intertwined.
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» See also 194 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 175 (next | show all)
Goodreads labels 5-stars as "it is amazing."

I loved Ann's Pratchett's Commonwealth, but it had its problems. It was hard for me to follow who all of the people are. (I imagine the problems I have with Tolstoy.) The timeline switches were also confusing.

It was amazing because Franny and the other characters became real to me. I enjoyed the retrospective of older characters, probably because I'm older.

I will probably reread Commonwealth. ( )
  nab6215 | Jan 18, 2022 |
Ann Patchett thought up a convoluted family situation, which she made even more chaotic by jumping back and forth in time. I was unable to get into any of the characters. There was no real plot, unless it was telling the life story of all these people, which left me wondering what the point of the book was. ( )
  Marietje.Halbertsma | Jan 9, 2022 |
I loved this book. I loved all the complex and ultimately good characters, all the familiar and unfamiliar settings. I loved the carefully unfolding plot structure. The writing was funny, and sad, and true. But I've loved everything I've read by Ann Patchett — This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Run, Bel Canto (why do people dislike that one? do they find it implausible?), the amazing State of Wonder. There. Is that effusive enough? ( )
  Bruyere_C | Dec 2, 2021 |
The author knows how to write about families that's for sure. This is my second book by her. I read her latest The Dutch House first and even though I loved it this one was not as good but good enough to give it 3.5 stars.

I felt like I was part of this family and knew these kids when they were growing up and as adults. It was the Keating family and the Cousins with one mother marrying the other father. They were close in age and spent a lot of time together.

At first it jumped from past to present very fast and then it was mostly the present. It focused on a few kids than others but there was always an update or a scene with the others. ( )
  sweetbabyjane58 | Oct 31, 2021 |
Been two months since I read this.. I remember the beginning was entrancing. Then the POV started shifting from character to character and it felt like a gimmick, they all felt unlikable, and at some point in the book I stopped caring about them. The rest was a bit of a drag. Really solid writing though. ( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 175 (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

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patchett, Annprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
AudioBooks, Whole StoryPublishersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bouvard, LaurenceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, HopeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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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"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"-- "Commonwealth is the story of two broken families and the paths their lives take over the course of 40 years, through love and marriage, death and divorce, and a dark secret from childhood that lies underneath it all"--

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Book description
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.
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