Commonwealth (Hardcover)

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When Bert Cousins shows up uninvited to Franny Keating’s christening party in Southern California, Bert kisses Franny’s mother Beverly. This kiss sets in motion the dissolution of two marriages. Over a time frame of 50 years, the novel explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. The Keating and Cousins children spend time together in Virginia and California. They bond based on their shared disappointment in their parents and genuine affection for one another.

When Franny has a relationship with the renowned author Leon Posen, she shares the story of her family which becomes the source of his successful novel. The novel’s success forces the children to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and their deep loyalty to one another. Patchett’s novel is a meditation on the inspiration, interpretation and ownership of stories.

— From Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett

This book is so good, I become tongue-tied trying to explain why...but I'll try.  Ann Patchett writes about the most everyday moments in the most riveting way, writes about the most fraught moments as if it's happening to you, and peppers all with wickedly funny observations about things you thought only you had noticed.  Commonwealth is decades-spanning fiction that reads like a memoir, about family, childhood, and our relationships with the past, ourselves, and each other. If you used to be a kid, if you have siblings, if you like books with characters you care about -- and who care about each other -- this is the book for you.

— From Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett

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.

Coverage from NPR

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