Commonwealth

Commonwealth

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 th...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Commonwealth
Author:Ann Patchett
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Commonwealth Reviews

  • Annet

    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 hit them all in some way. The story is written going to and fro in time, and we follow several family members in their personal lives at some point in time. It's a story full of emotion, tragedy, love...

    and highly recommended.

    Thanks to all Goodreads friends who brought m

    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 hit them all in some way. The story is written going to and fro in time, and we follow several family members in their personal lives at some point in time. It's a story full of emotion, tragedy, love...

    and highly recommended.

    Thanks to all Goodreads friends who brought me to this book!

    Note, and when I started reading I realized I have 'State of Wonder' of the same author in my library 'collection'. Never got round to reading it yet, although it passed thru my hands several times ;-) Will read it soon :-)

    Beginning lines of Commonwealth sets the stage:

  • Elyse

    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 risk reading an Ann Patchett book, which I clearly do not understand.....lol,

    the blurb gives enough details about this story.

    I'm only going to spit out random thoughts.... ( a discussion group would be enriching....one I'd love to be part of)

    I wasn't 100% crazy about every scene - every minute of

    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 risk reading an Ann Patchett book, which I clearly do not understand.....lol,

    the blurb gives enough details about this story.

    I'm only going to spit out random thoughts.... ( a discussion group would be enriching....one I'd love to be part of)

    I wasn't 100% crazy about every scene - every minute of this novel....yet overall I have to give this book a high top rating of 5 stars.

    These characters won't fade away easily. Believe me... You'll know all of them pretty darn well by the time you finish this book - and you won't need to take a single note.

    You'll just easily remember names and details ... ( HUGE CREDIT to ANN PATCHETT)

    I 'definitely' have 2 - ok- 3 ....shit....4 favorite scenes....

    But I think EVERYONE would be 'crazy-in-their-head'.....not to think the opening chapter is one of the most brilliant - stand out - memorable scenes to come along in a

    contemporary family-saga novel in YEARS!!!!! Readers will 'want' to talk about the opening scene. It's just normal!!!

    1964 becomes very visual inside the Keating's house.

    My next favorite scene -- equally as brilliant as the first chapter ...( just different)....

    was a turn-on. ( alluring with tension to down-right hot). I'm not proud! Go, Ann Patchett! I never knew a waitress taking off her shoes could be so enticing.

    My next favorite scene scared the shit out of me - and then .... I said... "Whew".... Ok, we survived"?/!/?......Kids...breakfast ...candy bars... a walk to the lake?.....

    A personal share about my life:

    I have 4 first cousins. Add my older sister and I. The six of us spent our summer's together growing up. Some of us are married with children - some of us have been divorce - and re-married-- with blended families... There have been affairs - births - deaths All have traveled - some live in Israel -others now in the Midwest ..some still here in California. -- BUT our growing years were in Oakland/Berkeley and Piedmont. We are Rabbi's, lawyers, teachers, Doctors, Bart employees, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and some of us retired.

    It was easy to relate to this story for me - especially when the kids were smaller - exploring off on their own without parental supervision. That's how it was when I was growing up too. No adults knew of the trouble we got into. We just showed up in time for dinner.

    A FUNNY SCENE: feeding the children like they were the Von Trapp family. I was dying laughing!! ( you must read the scene yourself)

    Enough of this non-review-review! I liked this book!!! I wanted to change a couple of scenes - ( but that's part of what makes this book good, too)

    Point is... I was involved! I was fully invested and committed --living along side this family.

    Thank You to Harper Press and Ann Patchett

  • Paromjit

    This is a moving novel about the blended modern family inspired by Ann Patchett's own personal family history. In the early 1960s, the married Bert Cousins is a deputy DA, out of sorts with his lot in life and family, and looking for something more. He rolls up uninvited to Franny Keating's christening party, and oiled by alcohol, falls in love with and kisses the beautiful Beverly Keating. This leads to the disintegration of the two respective families and a catalogue of repercussions down the

    This is a moving novel about the blended modern family inspired by Ann Patchett's own personal family history. In the early 1960s, the married Bert Cousins is a deputy DA, out of sorts with his lot in life and family, and looking for something more. He rolls up uninvited to Franny Keating's christening party, and oiled by alcohol, falls in love with and kisses the beautiful Beverly Keating. This leads to the disintegration of the two respective families and a catalogue of repercussions down the years. In a narrative that shifts from person to person over 50 years in a non linear manner, with multiple threads, the greatest focus is on Franny. The story resonates strongly as so few of us today have experience of a family without divorce, separations, remarriages, and step relations.

    Bert and Beverly move to Virginia where, during the summer months, the six children from their marriages run wild in a way that would be less common today. The six are subject to all the strife that afflict a group of children but form strong bonds over their disappointments with and hatred of their parents. Patchett lets us get to know her characters well through detailed descriptions and vignettes of events, incidents and secrets. There is much comic humour, sorrows and tragedy in the highs and lows of a blended family. Franny is a law school dropout and becomes a waitress. She becomes involved with a writer, Leon Posen, to whom she confides her family history. Like a parasite, Posen appropriates this history to pen a bestseller that spawns a movie. This triggers the revisiting of a hidden past as the truth emerges. Fix Keating, LAPD cop, has cancer and it is Franny that comes to care for her father.

    Patchett gives us a a human and insightful look at the complexities of the dysfunctional modern family through the Cousins and the Keatings. Her character development is impressive, particularly with regard to Albie. There are perhaps an over abundance of characters but Patchett handles them adroitly. I was touched by her positivity with regard to the challenges of a blended family and of how time eventually is likely to iron out the wrinkles. A brilliant novel that I highly recommend. Thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC.

  • Angela M

    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 christening party with lots of alcohol and you can't help but think by the end - how that first bottle of gin changed so many lives . While these are very different stories by Ann Patchett, the party scene with the house full of people reminded me just a little of the house full of people in

    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 christening party with lots of alcohol and you can't help but think by the end - how that first bottle of gin changed so many lives . While these are very different stories by Ann Patchett, the party scene with the house full of people reminded me just a little of the house full of people in

    - a lot of people and a lot going on, multiple stories and multiple conversations. That's where the similarities ended but the feel of that was familiar. Fast forward ,decades later and we learn just how much of what happens at this party has affected lives - two couples have divorced and the 6 children they have between them have forged unexpected bonds over their childhood and as adults.

    The narrative moves around in time and and we in essence don't have the full story of what happens over the years, but snap shots of this blended family. While it seems that there is not much of a plot, the story is full of life . You may not like every one of these characters but yet they seemed real, real enough that you understand why some of them are not happy with how their story is portrayed in the novel written about them by another character ! Recommended to fans of Patchett and anyone else who enjoys family dramas.

    Thanks to Harper Collins and Edelweiss.

  • Jen

    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 what started off as a ritual turned into a party then spice in some infidelity and the wheels are put into motion for a family life detour.

    This is a story about families- their dysfunction, destruction, and loyalty.

    Truths are exposed after the publication of a novel that is loosely based on the 2 fami

    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 what started off as a ritual turned into a party then spice in some infidelity and the wheels are put into motion for a family life detour.

    This is a story about families- their dysfunction, destruction, and loyalty.

    Truths are exposed after the publication of a novel that is loosely based on the 2 families.

    It's the realIzation of truths when secrets are revealed.

    Patchett expertly packages a novel within a novel - literally- with an abundance of themes-Divorce, addiction, relationships, personal growth, loss and regret.

    Not linear but not confusing; nice prose, interesting characters and entertaining. My 2nd Patchett. 4*

  • Will Byrnes

    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. He wanted this incredibly beautiful woman.

    It was also the end of two marriages, beginning a ripple that would continue spreading its impact over the next half century.

    Jump all those fifty years, more or less. Beverly’s ex, Fix Keating, the one she had left for Bert

    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. He wanted this incredibly beautiful woman.

    It was also the end of two marriages, beginning a ripple that would continue spreading its impact over the next half century.

    Jump all those fifty years, more or less. Beverly’s ex, Fix Keating, the one she had left for Bert, is battling cancer. His daughter, Franny, the baby being christened in chapter one, is there to help out. Jump back to Bert and Beverly moving to Virginia in the 1960s, her two kids in tow and his four arriving for the summer. Jump to Franny working at a Chicago bar after dropping out of law school, and meeting a literary icon. The large jumps mean that we get only small fragments of entire lifetimes. It may be the writer’s impulse, as it is for many visual artists, to pare a story down to essentials, significant moments that define the substance of the tale being told.

    happened

    , and the rest followed from that. The notion being, I expect, that you don’t really need all that in-between material to see the path. If we see cause (pebble in the pond) we don’t need to see every single ripple, or the spaces between them, to understand that the ripples we do see arrived as a result of the initial stone.

    - from The Guardian

    , another strong addition to Ann Patchett’s body of work, should be sold with springs in the binding for the considerable chronological leaps Patchett takes in giving us a portrait of people and families that emerge from the marital mixer. Given how many folks these days lived, live or will live in blended families, Patchett among

    us, there should be plenty of resonance for large portions of the reading public. The Keating kids move with their mother from California to Virginia when Beverly remarries. This echoes the author’s history, as she had made a similar move as a kid when

    mother remarried, leaving LA for Tennessee. Her stepfather’s four kids stayed in California, as Bert’s kids do in the novel. The commonwealth of kids in both Patchett’s actual life and in her novel comes in at a half dozen, so she knows of what she writes. Her father, like Fix Keating had career in the LAPD. Patchett made good use of her work as a waitress to inform her description of Franny working at a bar in Chicago. There is plenty more of Ann Pachett’s life sewn into her story.

    There are two major events in the book from which much of the repercussion spreads. Beverly leaving her husband to marry someone else and move a continent away, and a tragic death that take place when the six kids are all together in the east.

    In

    , a memoir-ish piece she wrote about writing (included in her non-fic collection

    ), Patchett notes

    That would certainly fit here as the six step-sibs form their own community of sorts, one in which they may not have absolute power, but one in which they exercise as much group autonomy as possible. The circumstance in which they find themselves and the relationships that are formed there will affect the rest of their lives.

    Maybe the point is that we are all in it together, for better or worse, for ups and downs, for dislocation and for stasis, for jumps and for landings. Maybe it is just Patchett telling the story of her family. You could take it either way, or both ways. Neither interpretation would require a leap.

    There is a lot here on parenting. Much of it reflecting the attitudes of different eras. It is not so strange, for example, that a 1960s lawyer would leave most of the parenting to his homemaker wife, or wives, as the case may be. That reflected the pre-Lib ethos that ruled at the time. But Bert is definitely presented as an absentee parent. His ex, coping as a single mother with four kids, is stretched to the limit,

    but there is definitely a question as to how attentive a mother she would have been under any circumstances. Patchett plays the cheaper-by-the-half-dozen set up for a bit of light humor.

    And there is one particular bit involving the youngest of the crew, six-year-old Albie and some inappropriate music, that is howlingly funny. But there are events in the half-dozen’s time together that are as serious as a heart attack. And those secrets threaten to come to light when Franny’s literary fling absorbs the family tale from her and reproduces it as an original novel, titled

    . And then, worse, a movie.

    The big time shifts in

    were both jarring and refreshing. Definitely makes the reader heat up those gray cells and get them sparking. I did wish, however that there had been more material about several of the characters. And some more indication of why they were the way they were. Why, for example, was Bev so open to moving on from her first marriage? The structure holds with only a few supporting pillars, but I wanted more rebar, closer together. I was reminded of Jennifer Haigh’s novel,

    , which was pretty good. But the author later wrote

    , a story collection that fleshed out the

    stories some more. I have no idea if Patchett has more material in store for these characters, but it would not be a bad idea if she did.

    Patchett’s writing here is closer to home than in some of her well-known novels. Her birthplace, Los Angeles, instead of

    ’s unspecified Somewhere, South America, Virginia (standing in for Tennessee when she grew up and where she still lives) instead of the remote Amazon of

    . The characters and situations, clearly drawn from Patchett’s life, resonate with a palpable reality, even though no one of them holds the stage long enough. Connections are made between events and their consequences, supported by a swath of vignette and sharp observation. You are unlikely to relate to all the commonwealth members or their outer circle, but there are bound to be some characters who trip your connection switches, and others whose circumstances, and maybe ways of being you will recognize.

    A society of people will not rise, fall or sustain, as a result of reading

    , but it would definitely be in their collective self-interest to do so. It is a fascinating look at how change can affect our lives, and how we might find some sustenance by facing the world with the help and support of those with whom we have been thrown together.

    Publication - 9/13/2016

    Review Posted - 6/10/2016

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    ,

    and

    pages

    Patchett seems to have stopped adding tweets to her Twitter page in 2011, but the feed from the bookstore in which she is a partner,

    , is alive and well

    The only other Ann Patchett book I have reviewed is

    . I have read but not reviewed

    and

    .

    A

    of possible relevance

    November 23, 2016 -

    is named to the NY Times list of

    of 2016

  • Debbie

    I’ve been putting off writing this review because I’ve been hoping that as time goes on, I’ll sit up and chirp instead of sit down and burp. But, alas, I am not chirping. The song is more or less forgotten, so I can’t in good conscience give this a wowsy 4 stars. It’s more like a 3.88, who do I appreciate, which I will round up to 4 because, well, ultimately I do appreciate Ann Patchett.

    I’m messed up when it comes to this writer. I insanely loved

    (decla

    I’ve been putting off writing this review because I’ve been hoping that as time goes on, I’ll sit up and chirp instead of sit down and burp. But, alas, I am not chirping. The song is more or less forgotten, so I can’t in good conscience give this a wowsy 4 stars. It’s more like a 3.88, who do I appreciate, which I will round up to 4 because, well, ultimately I do appreciate Ann Patchett.

    I’m messed up when it comes to this writer. I insanely loved

    (declaring it an all-time favorite) but absolutely hated

    . I read a couple of other books by her that I liked, but nothing came anywhere close to State of Wonder.

    Then along came Commonwealth, and expectations were high. Of course I want everything she writes to do the same thing that State of Wonder did to me, but it’s a setup for failure when you want to re-create something that was perfect, like trying to find a pet that’s as perfect as the one you lost. This book just did not set fire to my soul. I wasn’t uttering a meh, mind you, but I wasn’t doing a jig either. It’s a good story, just not particularly memorable.

    But hot diggety--only two items on my Complaint Board! The small complaint first: Too many players! It’s not a crime if I have to draw a family tree, but laziness made me try to keep all the characters straight without having to find paper and pen and start sketching. There are two sets of parents with 6 kids among them—2 from one family and 4 from another. See? Already it’s hard. They become step-sibs who spend long summers together. Remembering which kids belongs to which mom and dad was tough at times.

    The bigger complaint: There's this weird distance that Patchett maintains, this formality. Maybe it’s just her tone, I don’t know. If I ever met her I'm pretty sure I’d say “how do you do” instead of “hi.” I sort of feel like I know the characters but I am also acutely aware they are far away in a story, not sitting next to me whispering their secrets into my ear. And damn, instead it is Patchett the storyteller sitting there beside me, her voice sometimes blocking out the voice of the characters, and forcing me to pay attention to her. I like it better when I get completely absorbed with the characters and forget there’s a puppet master pulling the strings.

    There are a lot of good things. Patchett rolls up her sleeves and cooks up a believable and interesting story. She really is a master storyteller. She paints the picture in broad strokes. The dialogue is not particularly rich but I like her sentence structure, the way she dresses the story--atop some good bones.

    Her plot is clever and sort of unusual (I found myself thinking, how did she come up with THAT secret), and it has the right amount of foreshadowing. And she doesn’t have any over-the-top drama or dialogue that would make it seem unrealistic. Her language is impeccable and she weaves scenes together beautifully, sometimes even while jumping back and forth between time periods.

    I discovered something curious. Even though I’m all over it if there are too many mundane little things being described, Patchett for some reason can get away with it without sending me screaming for my Complaint Board. I’m thinking it’s her sophisticated language that makes the simple details sound acceptable. And she has a real talent for painting a vivid picture with an economy of words.

    The book opens at a christening party for baby Franny, who is the main character of the story. It is there that the married Albert lustfully eyeballs Franny’s beautiful married mother, Beverly. By the next chapter or two, the story jumps to Albert and Beverly being a married couple (we don’t get the story of how the divorces went down). Patchett wins the prize for the weirdest man’s name ever—Beverly’s cuckolded husband is named Fix. Seriously. With the new family structures in place, we start getting to know all the children of the two divorces. The kids have a secret (oh how I love a good secret), and the repercussions of this secret are at the core of the story.

    I loved the way Patchett described how the kids formed a tribe that was theirs alone. The tribe had the innocence of childhood, and the ties among the kids were touching and real. While their parents dealt with their own adult dramas, the kids were often left to themselves, a pack of little kids having adventures and doing things that the parents would freak out about if they knew. It made me think about how complicated and fascinating sibling dynamics are. I’m one of five kids; the story reminded me of how it felt to be around many siblings, and it sent me down memory lane.

    Patchett really is good at developing characters. I liked the personalities that she gave each kid, especially, and the way they interacted was believable and intriguing. The book spans about 50 years; I was invested in seeing what kind of adults these kids grew into. And as other reviewers have mentioned, the adults could have come right out of the TV series Mad Men. Whereas the young kids were busy (mostly) having fun, the adults seemed incredibly sad and sometimes boozy. Franny’s story is the most developed. As an adult she has a relationship with an idol that will affect the entire family (hint: it has to do with the relationship between reality and art). And she is the main kid who cares for her ailing dad at the end.

    Despite the fact that there was a tragedy, this was basically a tame family drama, well-done and realistic. But I always clamor for edge! Even though I’m a total chicken and won’t even put the tip of my toe over any edge, I sure like my fictional characters to be perched, fearless, and going for the plunge. For instance, wouldn’t it have been bizarre and juicy if two of the step-kids had gotten it on? Now THAT might have made me sit up and chirp! But that would be a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother day…

  • Roxane

    I loved this book. Gorgeously written, as is always the case with Ann Patchett. There is an ambitious narrative structure that, at times, gets away from the writer, but still, this is so so good.

  • Lindsay

    1 star. After reading 50% of this book, I'm going to stop. I know this book has fantastic reviews and I respect that, but this is just not for me. I was waiting for something to happen to pique my interest and it just didn't by the halfway point.

    The main problem for me is that I am a mother of young children which makes me overly sensitive toward these innocent kids. I had a hard time with all of the child neglect and poor parenting decisions in this book. I had a VERY hard time stomaching the

    1 star. After reading 50% of this book, I'm going to stop. I know this book has fantastic reviews and I respect that, but this is just not for me. I was waiting for something to happen to pique my interest and it just didn't by the halfway point.

    The main problem for me is that I am a mother of young children which makes me overly sensitive toward these innocent kids. I had a hard time with all of the child neglect and poor parenting decisions in this book. I had a VERY hard time stomaching the Benadryl/gin/gun incident with the six children - little Albie being only 5 or 6 years old!?!? And the parents showing up at the children's motel room at 2pm the next day saying they "slept in"??? Or Teresa getting excited to have summers "off" from her children? Then Teresa sending them on a plane to their fathers house for a couple months without luggage??? Teresa was trying to "punish" her ex by making him buy everything the kids needed, but it's the kids who would suffer without their personal belongings and everyday comfort objects. These poor children are shipped back and forth between parents and states and then left to their own devices most of the time.

    Often, I found it hard to keep track of the children - which child belonged to which parents. I didn't connect with any characters. I liked Franny (a little), although I found the lead up to her affair extremely awkward and uneventful. Overall, I found this book to be slow and depressing. I know I'm in the minority, so please read other reviews before deciding on this book!

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.