Read: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

commonwealthI got an e-copy of this book from the publishers for review (via Edelweiss).

My opinion: Written as well as always, but not half as good as State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (which I loved). The story follows two families who intermarry (i.e., the mother of one family marries the father of the other family) and out of necessity need to deal with each other. We follow some of the family members in the next five decades. There’s also a secret that involves the children of both families. This is slowly revealed during the story.

This novel reminded me a lot of Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread which also follows a family throughout the years – and there’s a secret too. Because of the jumps through time and the different characters that were followed – rather than sticking with one or two – this story felt a little disjointed. I read it with interest but I was never hooked.

The publisher says: “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.”


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

5 Responses to Read: Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

  1. Good to see you in my inbox again, Judith.

    And I’m glad to see a review of Commonwealth that doesn’t seem to love it just because it’s Patchett. I’m still debating whether to read it since State of Wonder didn’t knock me over.

    • Leeswammes says:

      It’s hard to say, Debbie, since I loved State of Wonder. I think the themes in Commonwealth are not so special; you can find many books like this, while SoW is quite special (in my eyes).

  2. Joanna Booth says:

    I’ve yet to read Ann Patchett and for a second I thought she was Alice Munro so was excited about reading Dear Life. I don’t know how my mind words. I do like Anne Tyler though and those kind of themes. Will check out State of Wonder first perhaps.

  3. BookerTalk says:

    How disappointing. I enjoyed State of Wonder simply because it was so different butnCommonwealth takes a too well trodden path for me. I’m getting to realise I don’t like family sagas that stretch over generations

  4. Isi says:

    I’m seeing this author everywhere lately, but I still haven’t read any of her books.
    I should start with State of wonder, I see, for this one is not that good.
    Thanks for the review.

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