It is 1964: Bert Cousins, the deputy District Attorney, shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited, bottle of gin in hand. As the cops of Los Angeles drink, talk and dance into the June afternoon, he notices a heart-stoppingly beautiful woman. When Bert kisses Beverly Keating, his host's wife, the new baby pressed between them, he sets in motion the joining of two families whose shared fate will be defined on a day seven years later. In 1988, Franny Keating, now twenty-four, has dropped out of law school and is working as a cocktail waitress in Chicago. When she meets one of her idols, the famous author Leon Posen, and tells him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story. Franny never dreams that the consequences of this encounter will extend beyond her own life into those of her scattered siblings and parents. Told with equal measures of humour and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a powerful and tender tale of family, betrayal and the far-reaching bonds of love and responsibility. A meditation on inspiration, interpretation and the ownership of stories, it is Ann Patchett's most astonishing work to date.
A powerful story of two families brought together by beauty and torn apart by tragedy, the new novel by the Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder is her most astonishing yet
Patchett's sympathetic instinct, the magical trick she performs which ensures that every novel she writes is a work to be embraced, is always to pull the reader in, not to alienate her ... Patchett understands our deepest, darkest, unvoiceable fears Independent on Sunday One of Patchett's great skills is in capturing the moment-by-moment psychology of her characters- the brain's subtle mental and emotional shifts Financial Times There is a stillness and beauty to Ann Patchett's writing that takes the breath away ... Patchett's mastery of language is matched only by her narrative abilities The Times Enchanting prose and wondrous storytelling Economist Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett's fiction. Patchett is unique; a generous, fearless and startlingly wise young writer New York Times Review Commonwealth is full of heart, and is Patchett's most complex and emotionally suspenseful novel. She never hits a wrong note although she conjures with many deftly drawn characters. The opening chapter is one of the best party-scene seductions ever written -- Louise Erdrich, author of The Beet Queen