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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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Seemita
    Nov 29, 2016

    [Originally appeared here (with edits):][A strong 3.5]How does a car-ride feel across a long, stretched road? Bumpy? Restless? Exhilarating? Tiresome? While a ...

  • Jill
    Jun 03, 2016

    I have a love/hate relationship with Ann Patchett. Her novel, Bel Canto, remains one of my all-time contemporary favorites. State of Wonder left me cold with some of the plot and character implausabil...

  • Renata
    Oct 01, 2016

    Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett, is my new favorite book of the year. I?m ever so pleased I bought the book in hardcopy, even though that is completely against my rules (which I truly only break once ...