Commonwealth (Paperback)Ann Patchett (author)
A powerful story of two families brought together by beauty and torn apart by tragedy, the new novel by the Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder is her most astonishing yet.
The christening party took a turn when Albert cousins arrived with gin…
It is 1964: Bert Cousins, the deputy district attorney, shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited, bottle of gin in hand.
As the cops of Los Angeles drink, talk and dance into the June afternoon, he notices a heart-stoppingly beautiful woman. When Bert kisses Beverly Keating, his host's wife, the new baby pressed between them, he sets in motion the joining of two families whose shared fate will be defined on a day seven years later.
In 1988, Franny Keating, now twenty-four, has dropped out of law school and is working as a cocktail waitress in Chicago. When she meets one of her idols, the famous author Leon Posen, and tells him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story. Franny never dreams that the consequences of this encounter will extend beyond her own life into those of her scattered siblings and parents.
Told with equal measures of humour and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a powerful and tender tale of family, betrayal and the far-reaching bonds of love and responsibility. A meditation on inspiration, interpretation and the ownership of stories, it is Ann Patchett's most astonishing work to date.
This novel convinces me she's wiping the floor with her heftier competitors’ - Linda Grant, Daily Telegraph
An outstanding novel ...she is master of her art .... Brilliant - The Observer
Born in California, Ann Patchett’s first published work was in the Paris Review before she released her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars. It was her third novel, based on the Japanese Embassy hostage crisis, Bel Canto, that really made her name, with the book receiving the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction. Her other novels include State of Wonder, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage and Commonwealth.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 239 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm
Part of Patchett's design is to curve every type, bend every cliche, adulterate every formula ... Subtle, startling and painful ... Commonwealth is one of the most discerning novels about siblings I can recall ... Alive with provocative insights that sum up entire relationships -- Sarah Churchwell * Guardian *
Stunning -- India Knight * Sunday Times *
Hugely entertaining and an unsettling joy to read -- Roddy Doyle * Irish Times *
An outstanding novel ... The opening is a show stopper ... Patchett is a pleasure to read: there is a no-fuss casualness to the prose that is only possible when a writer is in control of every word and she is master of her art * Observer *
The opening scene .... is a faultless set piece ... Her prose is equally powerful when she's evoking a 1970s summer in Virginia ... Patchett deftly summons up a simmering childhood anger and dangerously ricocheting energy * The Times *
Patchett writes excellently and seemingly artlessly * Daily Mail *
Dazzling ... sharply observed, ripe with humour, laden with significance ... Her characters shimmer with life-likeness, and she pulls you into every one of her vibrantly drawn scenes with great ease ... The combination of lightness, warmth and remarkable incisiveness creates a novel that is life-affirming and compulsively readable * Sunday Times *
The book flows easily between narrators, constantly switching from past to present, and slowly revealing what happened that summer, allowing Patchett to play with memory and perspective to surprisingly moving effect ... Commonwealth is a book about relationships and the obligations they bring .. Poignant ... funny ... An engaging novel that draws you in with sharp observation, a gin-fuelled plot written in beautiful prose and convincing dialogue. You miss the characters once it's over * Evening Standard *
She achieves the great novel of American domestic life with a spare hand and a demotic prose that seems to come from the mouths of her characters, even when they aren't speaking ... Her unshowy account of public and private stories addresses the great puzzle of what our lives are really made of ... This novel convinces me she's wiping the floor with her heftier competitors -- Linda Grant * Daily Telegraph *
Commonwealth is full of heart, and is Patchett's most complex and emotionally suspenseful novel. She never hits a wrong note although she conjures with many deftly drawn characters. The opening chapter is one of the best party-scene seductions ever written -- Louise Erdrich, author of The Beet Queen
She is one of those rare writers, like Anne Enright or Anne Tyler, who is able to convey poignancy and humour in the space of a single sentence -- Elizabeth Day * Irish Times *
So clear and clean and at the top of her game ... It is just so masterfully done. The sweep of it and the subtlety of the ideas -- Esther Freud
Beautiful -- Katie Roiphe * Observer *
From the mesmerising first chapter to the final page, Ann Patchett's new novel is utterly brilliant. This domestic drama deals in loyalties, sibling rivalries, jealously and heartbreak in an effortlessly graceful style that makes for unputdownable reading * Sunday Express *
Gorgeously evocative writing and complex characters ... Patchett is a writer of exceptional talent, and this is one of her best yet * Good Housekeeping *
A deft craftsman ... Patchett ultimately wins the reader over with her perceptive qualities, alluring characters and undertone of humour ... In Commonwealth, Patchett's nimble storytelling floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee * Literary Review *
This delicate exploration of the ties that bind us never seems to lose focus * Stylist *
An absorbing, brilliantly observed novel * Women & Home *
Rich and engrossing ... her observations about people and life are insightful; and her underlying tone is one of compassion and amusement ... Patchett also skilfully illustrates the way that seemingly minor, even arbitrary decisions can have long-lasting consequences and the way that we often fear the wrong things -- Curtis Sittenfeld * New York Times *
Delicious. From the moment a kiss at a christening ends up sparking the divide and re-merging of two families, I was drawn into the minutiae of the drama ... Patchett makes you feel like you've lived among it and have been subsumed into the newly drawn clan * Grazia *
Humourous and heartbreaking, this quietly brilliant collage of a novel also happens to be semi-autobiographical itself * Mail on Sunday *
Life-affirming and compulsively readable * Sunday Times *
Told with great sympathy and even greater wit - it should be said that Commonwealth is very funny indeed - this is a book to savour * The Lady *
At the heart of a novel is a family story that is appropriated by another character - an author - the consequences of which ripple out to every family member * Guardian Readers' Books of the Year *
I want to tell you how good Ann Patchett is. She's classy. She reminds me of Anne Tyler - superb at domestic details and very ambitious * Evening Standard *
Patchett moves through the gears very smoothly, from sexual attraction to disease and violent death. Exciting, and also poignant * Independent *
When the tragic power of the story hits the reader, the effect is breathtaking. Patchett sucker-punches you, but leaves you feeling you had it coming - whether for underestimating her, her characters, or humanity, it is hard to say' -- Sarah Churchwell * Guardian *
An outstanding novel ... The opening is a show stopper ... Patchett is light, incisive and all-seeing ... She lets readers reflect on what is involved in stealing from life: emotional copyright is, in this unpushy and brilliant novel, more powerful than anyone dared suppose * Observer *
Ann Patchett's cleverly crafted Commonwealth is one of her best, which for this writer is saying a great deal -- Geraldine Brooks * Sydney Morning Herald, Books of the Year 2017 *
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I found reading Commonwealth quite emotional, it is easy to visualise what happens to each family member.
You are made aware of the importance of decisions made by characters and how these can have significant... More
“Beautifully written tender story of family....”
Ann Patchett creates this astonishing story of two families brought together with love and torn apart with unexpected tragedy whilst detailing how these events effected each family.
The humour, heartbreak, tender love... More
If you've read Ann Patchett before, then you already know how gifted a writer she is, and how wonderful her books are. This is no exception, and is easily her best since Bel Canto. If you haven't read Ann... More
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