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.
Outstanding book—terrible reader!
This was my first audiobook, and if Hope Davis were the only reader on the planet, it would definitely be my last. I won't disparage her voice (a matter of taste) or her lisp (a deficiency of compassion on my part). However, I will vociferously complain about her lack of skill at reading aloud—specifically her lack of understanding of inflection. Specifically, she does not use a downward inflection at the end of a declarative sentence or an informational question; she doesn’t even use inflection to denote commas within sentences. I don;t mean that she uses the annoying upward inflection. Rather, the pitch at the end of her clauses and phrases is exactly the same at that within them. Listening to this strange reading, which seemed to signal lack of comprehension of the material, was a torture.
The torture was not so severe, however, as to diminish my utter delight at the breadth and depth of Patchett’s novel. Her characters are deftly drawn, and her understanding of family dynamics is acute and insightful.
Hard to follow- poorly developed characters and even poorer narrator