Monday, September 19, 2016

Commonwealth: A Novel by Ann Patchett

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

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.

my thoughts:

As a HUGE fan of Ann Patchett's works, I was super excited to read her latest book, Commonwealth.  I just knew that I was in for brilliant writing and superb storytelling.  Patchett never disappoints and this book was no exception. Spanning over fifty years, this character-driven novel tells the story of two families and how one kiss changed their lives forever more. Yep, one kiss. How crazy is that?

Its a hot day in Southern California and the Keatings have invited everyone over to celebrate their baby girl, Franny's christening.  Bert Cousins shows up, even though he's not really a friend of the Keatings.  In fact, he's lied to his family and says that he's working, because he doesn't really want to deal with them. Instead, he's in a room kissing Mrs. Keating.  Yep, we have the kiss that will change everything.  Divorces ensue, kids get shuffled between homes, step siblings and parents are made, and the kids lives are affected forever more.  Fast forward and you find Franny dating a much older man who happens to be an author.  She shares stories about her childhood with him.  Suddenly, he's writing, writing, and writing.  His book becomes a bestseller and he's more popular than ever.  Turns out Franny's childhood made for great storytelling.  Her family's not happy with Franny for airing their dirty laundry is such a public way.  They aren't happy that this book is forcing them to confront the past and how its affected them so much. 

Patchett has written a powerful story that explores the good, the bad, and the ugly that make up a family.  The characters are flawed, realistic, and relatable.  The writing is masterful.  Its filled with such depth and thoughtfulness, you can't help but be in awe of Patchett's talent.  Simply put, Commonwealth is a triumph.  I would most definitely recommend Commonwealth (and every other book by Patchett) to fans of Patchett and fans of great literature.  You will absolutely LOVE this book! 

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tours schedule for: Commonwealth
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!


Ti said...

I haven't read a bad review yet for this one. I've only read one Patchett book (Run) and was not a fan. Since that books, there have been others but I've not felt the need to pick them up. As far as her books go, was Run the weakest of the lot or what? I feel like she has quite a following but you and I have such similar reading tastes and with Run, I borderline hated it.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Ti, you are going to love this one. Its slow-going at first, but the family drama is captivating. I think this is an Ann Patchett book you will enjoy. I haven't read Run, but its the first book by her that I bought. State of Wonder was my first Patchett novel and it was amazing. After that I was a fan of hers. I enjoyed her book of essays, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. And I loved her nonfiction book, Truth and Beauty. I think you'd like both of those a lot. Definitely give this one a go first - I think you'll really like it.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Patchett is an incredible writer. I have loved everything of hers that I've read so far and I expect I will love this one as well.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Thanks, Heather! Patchett is one of my favorites. You are so right - she is an incredible writer. You are going to love her latest book :)