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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.
--book jacket

Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:322 pages

    Commonwealth Reviews

  • Will Byrnes
    Nov 25, 2016

    When Bert Cousins saw Beverly Keating it was love at first sight. Never mind that they met at the christening party for her second child. Never mind that Bert had a wife and several progeny of his own...

  • Elyse
    Jun 20, 2016

    Wow....I have spent hours thinking about this book. The characters are deep in my mind. There will be NO SPOILERS in my review!!! NONE!!!!If you need a 'little' information to know weather you want to...

  • Angela M
    Jul 19, 2016

    Life is messy a lot of the time and no matter how much people love their families, I think we have to admit that we've all experienced some of the messiness that happens in life. The book opens with a...

  • Jen
    Nov 04, 2016

    So, this is what happens when one too many gin and orange juices flow. At a baptism. Not the typical kind. The fun kind. One with lots of friends and family and somehow booze gets into the mix and wha...

  • Diane S ?
    Jun 15, 2016

    4+ Early 1960, a christening party for baby Franny, where a spark will be ignited that will set up a chain of events that will echo down through the decades. Four adults, six children will be affected...

  • Larry Hoffer
    Dec 18, 2016

    I'd rate this 4.5 stars."The christening party took a turn when Albert Cousins arrived with gin."How can you resist a novel that starts like that?Bert Cousins' decision to bring a bottle of gin to a c...

  • Annet
    Dec 10, 2016

    Well, I simply loved this book. 4.5 going on 5. One of the highlights in 2016. Wonderful storytelling about two families getting 'intertwined' by changed marriages, affected by a family tragedy that h...

  • Rebecca Foster
    Apr 04, 2016

    Previously I’d always preferred Patchett’s nonfiction to her fiction. However, this, for me, was much better than Bel Canto and State of Wonder. As a deep study of blended family dynamics, it remi...

  • Cheri
    Sep 13, 2016

    Edit: Available to order now!Franny is one year old as this story begins; it’s her party, her christening party. She’s toddling around in diapers as their home is invaded by every cop in town, and...

  • Noel Nunez
    Sep 17, 2016

    SPOILER FREE REVIEWCommonwealth is a story about people's stories. There's a loose thread that binds all the talestogether, but for the most part each one is treated separately. There are no surprise ...

About Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett

Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."Patchett attended hi