Commonwealth - Ann Patchett

Staff Pick

Readers partial to family sagas or collections of interlocking narratives will love Ann Patchett’s masterful Commonwealth (HarperCollins, $27.99). Taking up different points of view, with reports that sometimes contradict each other, the novel begins with Franny Keating’s christening party, which turns into a drinking party when Bert Cousins shows up with a bottle of gin. But the event has an unexpected outcome, launching a chain of events that leads to the breakup of two marriages and the creation of a blended family. Over the years, one child dies, the others grow up. Reaching adulthood, Franny Keating becomes romantically involved with a writer who bases his successful novel, Commonwealth, on her family’s experiences. Has he stolen Franny’s story? Has he stolen the whole family’s story, or has he only used key events to craft a narrative of his own? Many chapters of this tale might easily stand alone as short stories; instead, Patchett has crafted a novel spanning several generations and offering different perspectives on a single painful truth. This novel poses the questions of who a narrative belongs to and what is or isn’t appropriation, issues that Patchett knows well from the real life controversy about her memoir, Truth and Beauty.

Commonwealth By Ann Patchett Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062491794
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Harper - September 13th, 2016

Commonwealth: A Novel By Ann Patchett Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062491831
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper Perennial - May 2nd, 2017