Commonwealth by Ann Patchett


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...

Details Commonwealth

Release DateSep 13th, 2016
Number of pages322 pages
GenreFiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Adult Fiction

Reviews Commonwealth

  • 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. This was the start of his life. 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. Beverl...
  • 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,the blurb gives enough details about this story. I'm only going to spit out random thoughts.... ( a discussion group would be I'd love to be part of) I was...
  • Debbie
    3.88, who do I appreciate?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...
  • 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 j...
  • Diane S ☔
    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, and we will follow them as they try to maneuver through the many difficulties and tragedies fate will throw at them. The six children from the blended families will form, in the summers they spend together, a little tribe of their own and as a moth...
  • 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.
  • 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 publicat...
  • Diane
    I loved this book so much I read it twice in three months.Ann Patchett is one of my veryveryvery favorite modern writers, and I was so excited when Commonwealth was released that I dropped everything else I was reading to begin it. Later I had the good fortune to meet Patchett at a book reading in my city, and I gushed about how much I loved her work. She was gracious, smart, witty and kind, and my writer-crush was complete.As for Commonwealth, I...
  • 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...
  • Larry Hoffer
    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 christening party for Fix and Beverly Keating's infant daughter Franny, a party to which he wasn't even invited, is much more than a social faux pas. Showing up at that party makes Bert realize he wants more out of his life than his job as a deputy DA...
  • Candi
    "Had the Keatings just put the gin in their liquor cabinet no one would have thought less of them. But Fix Keating had given the bottle to his wife, and his wife, worn down by the stress of throwing a good party, was going to have a drink, and if she was going to have a drink then by God everyone at the party was welcome to join her."A couple receives a very unusual gift at a christening party. I don’t remember anyone ever showing up with a bot...
  • Norma
    Dysfunctional family drama * Dysfunctional formatting * Dysfunctional review COMMONWEALTH by ANN PATCHETT is a literary fiction novel to cherish for its many different interwoven and blended stories of love, destiny, loyalty, loss, secrets, disappointments, betrayal, and mistakes creating a family bonded together by a common understanding of each other.ANN PATCHETT delivers an interesting, complicated, and well-written read here but I did find it...
  • 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...Beautiful & heartfelt... and highly recommended....
  • Julie
    Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is a 2016 Harper publication. This book is a bit of a departure for me, but I’ve been craving something different, something more profound and literary in nature. With Commonwealth, I came to the right place. One fateful Sunday afternoon, Bert Cousins arrives uninvited to Franny Keating’s christening party. He had only shown up to escape his own family life, which included his pregnant wife and three children. But...
  • Rebecca Foster
    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 reminded me of Jonathan Franzen, as well as This Must Be the Place (Maggie O’Farrell) and The Green Road (Anne Enright). Like those two, it shifts elegantly between times and places, often without any overt triggers like a date heading or a chapter...
  • Dem
    The saying "Gin makes you sin" sure plays a role in Ann Patchett's latest novel Commonwealth.A novel about Family dynamics after marriages end and new relationships form and the fallout that folks have to deal with.One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited but with a large bottle of Gin. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny’s mother, Beverly—thus setting in moti...
  • Noel Nunez
    SPOILER FREE REVIEWCommonwealth is a story about people's stories. There's a loose thread that binds all the tales together, but for the most part each one is treated separately. There are no surprise endings, no hidden lessons, no zombie apocalypse. Just the slow burn of daily life as the characters make mistakes and learn from them, trying to piece together a meaningful existence like the rest of us.In other words, profound, but way too realis...
  • Cheri
    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 all the associated characters, the booze is flowing, kids are playing everywhere, her mother, Beverly, is looking smashing in a sunny yellow dress, her beauty shining brightly enough that when Bert Cousins arrives, he’s blinded to everyone but her...
  • Phrynne
    Four stars. Very well written, loved Frannie and Fix and even Albie by the end. I had some difficulty remembering who was whose child and who married who from time to time but I sorted myself out. I enjoyed the different stories of the various characters and how they all came together by the end. However (and this is where it lost a star) did no one else feel that the author was having trouble winding the book up. She was still introducing charac...
  • Dianne
    I am afraid I am going to be the outlier on this one - I wanted to love it; I was so sure I would love it that I purchased the hardcover copy to cherish, which I rarely do. I adore Ann Patchett! I just could not connect with this family drama or any of the characters. I can't fault her writing or the story or how it was laid out; it just was not compelling to me. I liked it in a very mild way, but I am not sure I'll remember much about it in a fe...
  • Sara
    4.5 stars-rounded downBert Cousins, a district attorney, escapes the chaos of his own home by crashing a christening party for the new baby of Fix Keating, a cop he barely knows. At this party, Bert meets Fix’s wife, Beverly, and a series of events that alters the course of the lives of two families and six children begins. If you have ever known a blended family, or been part of one, you will understand the relationships that form and break in...
  • Jenne
    I found it hard to give this book a rating. On the one hand, it was an excellent example of a literary novel. Great characters, good writing, lots of themes, emotionally engaging, the whole nine.On the other hand, I just don't really understand why people want to read books like this. Why do you want to get inserted into some person's depressing life? No opera singers or magicians or scientists deep in the jungle, just some people living in Los A...
  • Sam
    Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.While this famous Tolstoy quote doesn't grace the pages of Commowealth, it's a great way to open up discussion of Patchett's excellent family epic. I've had a good run with Ann Patchett: I read Bel Canto long ago and liked it, and read State of Wonder earlier this month and enjoyed that as well. So I was very excited for the release of Commonwealth, and once I cleared my...
  • helen the bookowl
    This was a beautiful book to finish off my reading year of 2016! It was my first novel by Ann Patchett, and throughout my reading of it I couldn't help but wonder how difficult the writing of this book must have been. That's because "Commonwealth" isn't written in chronological order. In fact, it starts in the middle of the story and proceeds to the ending of the story in chapter two. The rest of the book goes back and forth between the present, ...
  • Seemita
    [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 whole bunch of elements might prompt us to arrive at one or many words, there is, perhaps, a single word that can bring the responses of most of us onto a common plain – unforgettable.Ann Patchett takes us on one such ride. In Commonwealth, she tak...
  • Ron Charles
    We love Ann Patchett for her novels, but her new one, “Commonwealth,” reminds us that, in another world, she could have been one of our favorite short story writers, too. When she edited “The Best American Short Stories” in 2006, she singled out Eudora Welty as “the hero of my life,” and that veneration shows in the adroitly shaped, exquisitely subtle scenes that make up her fiction.“Commonwealth” opens with a 32-page story about ...
  • Marie
    The opening scene is set up like artwork. You understand the background of the characters, the pace of their movements, the absurdity of their choices. You feel the heat of the summer day, understand the lives that the characters lead and the small town that they live in. You feel the music, the alcohol, the excitement, the dramatic turn of events that awaits. You feel some characters sliding out of focus while others are becoming more intensely ...
  • Liz
    What a strange book. Parts made laugh, parts made me cringe, and other parts just had me saying OMG. Like the mother, who seeking revenge on her ex-husband, sends their four children across the country to him for the summer with no luggage. It all starts with a kiss at a christening party and the next thing you know, two families have dissolved and re-assembled . But there are huge gaps in the storyline, like how Bert and Beverly actually end up ...
  • Renata
    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 or twice a year, mainly because my shelves are full to overflowing no matter how cleverly I try to rearrange my books, and…this is the clincher…for every new book I buy I must release an old one from the protected and cherished comforts of my hom...
  • Snotchocheez
    4 starsI knew that someday (after I was thoroughly entranced by her memoir-ish This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage a while ago) Ann Patchett would write a novel that sends me to the moon and back. Commonwealth isn't going to be that novel, but instead of sending me to the moon, I'll be satisfied with her sending me to Downey and Torrance (two Los Angeles-centric bedroom communities that bring me back to my childhood, and, I'm willing to bet, ...