Commonwealth - Ann Patchett


By Ann Patchett

  • Release Date: 2016-09-13
  • Genre: Family
Score: 4
From 1,048 Ratings


“Exquisite... Commonwealth is impossible to put down.”
   — New York Times

#1 New York Times Bestseller | NBCC Award Finalist | New York Times Best Book of the Year | USA Today Best Book | TIME Magazine Top 10 Selection | Oprah Favorite Book of 2016 | New York Magazine Best Book of The Year

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.


  • Very disappointed

    By #beastsauce
    Like so many character novels, this story lacks a good plot. Yes, the themes of divorce, shared families, loss, and past mistakes are there. But they have no central plot, or culmination. It feels like it meanders through a family history. The one thing that could have redeemed this slow, rather boring story, was a sense of humor. Families are funny. For some reason I kept thinking the plot was around the corner. Nope. Never was.
  • Awful writing style

    By Kara McQ
    I don’t recommend this book. The writing and story were all over the place I never knew if it was past or present. The story line was ok just executed poorly.
  • Fantastic Book

    By Kitty hawk225
    Could hardly put it down.
  • Love

    By Shamrock0720
    Great book. Loved the different character viewpoints. Great book.
  • Commonwealth

    By Perky too
    This book has appeared on several best of the year lists and although I enjoyed it I'm not sure I would put it at the top of my own list. Yes, there are a lot of characters and sometimes hard to remember who belongs to which family but they are all very real people. Some plot lines are more interesting than others and the ending drags a bit, but it is a good read. Be patient or start a list at the beginning with parents and kids.
  • Boring...

    By victoriagf
    I was so anxious to read this and SO disappointed! Characters were never developed enough for me to really care about any of them. Storyline boring, potential was there but this book fell short for sure.
  • IBooks

    By Marge Reid
    Failed to load the book I purchased
  • Yale Road Book Club

    By Grayson's mom
    So sorry that this latest book by one of my favorite authors is so disappointing. In one her interviews Ann Patchett said her plots throw characters together and she lets the story play out. In this case, a dysfunctional family with secrets gets very tiring and tedious before it finally ends.
  • Disappointing!

    By Oregonjay
    Maybe, if I had the time to read this book in one setting (but who has that?!), I might have enjoyed it a little more. As it was, every time I picked it up, I was wondering "who" and "when"? There are too many characters spread over too many different (and jumping around) timeframes. The incredibly inept parenting of the parents made me feel unsettled the entire time I was reading the book. And, like too many books, the ending left me feeling, huh?! Not Patchett's best.
  • A pleasure

    By Cut wood
    This is a pleasure to read. Good writing. You slowly get to know and care about the characters.