Blended families have become more prominent in our culture. Regardless of the circumstances - often death or divorce - it can be challenging for all involved: step parents, custodial parents, step siblings, all join together and in the process, redefine the concept of family.
Commonwealth is a novel about two families whose fates are set into motion one afternoon at a Christening party in LA. Patchett cleverly positions the 6 step-siblings at the center of this domestic drama, revealing secrets and tragedies over the span of five decades. As this character-driven story explores the relationships between members of a complicated blended family, there is some hope to be found. I loved this book. It gave me food for thought!
-Recommended by Virgie
This is a wonderful story spanning 50 years of a large, blended, dysfunctional family. It’s been said that this novel is “a bit autobiographical.” Determine for yourself which character is Ann Patchett!
-Recommended by Virgie
Blended families have become more prominent in our culture. Regardless of its cause, either death or divorce, it can take a toll on all involved: step-parents, custodial parents, step-siblings, all attempting to redefine the concept of “family.”
"Commonwealth" is a novel about two families whose fates are set into motion one afternoon in the 1960s at a Los Angeles christening party. Patchett cleverly positions the six step-siblings at the center of this domestic drama, revealing secrets and tragedies through the span of five decades. Ironically, as this character-driven story explores the relationships between members of a complicated blended family, there is some hope to be found. I loved this book. It gave me food for thought.
— Virgie DeNucci, bookseller at Off The Beaten Path— From Book Reviews: Suggestions From Bestseller List
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.