Commonwealth

By Ann Patchett

Narrated by Hope Davis
10 hours 33 minutes

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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.

Exquisite... Commonwealth is impossible to put down.

The New York Times

Patchett’s storytelling has never seemed more effortlessly graceful. This is minimalism that magically speaks volumes…

Washington Post

Commonwealth is an all-American family saga, but her touching and even-handed approach to themes such as family politics, love, the role of literature and the acidic nature of lies is buoyed by a generous sprinkling of matter-of-fact humor.

BookPage

About the Author

Ann Patchett is the author of seven novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction–Truth & Beauty, about her friendship with the writer Lucy Grealy, What Now? an expansion of her graduation address at Sarah Lawrence College, and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays examining the theme of commitment.

In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes. She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores on NPR, The Colbert Report (including the series finale), Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, The Martha Stewart Show, and The CBS Early Show, among many others. Along with James Patterson, she was the honorary chair of World Book Night. In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World".

Ann Patchett lives in Nashville with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.

Reviews

Commonwealth feels both contemporary and instantly classic; it's a beautiful, empathetic novel that manages to be surprising but somehow comfortable. With each new book, Ann Patchett just keeps upping her game.

Powells

Author

Narrator
Hope Davis

ISBN
9780062561718

Length
10 hours 33 minutes

Language
English

Publisher
HarperCollins

Publication Date

Abridged
No

  • The christening party took a turn when Albert Cousins arrived with gin.
  • Bad habits were all a matter of perspective, and as long as the present was viewed through the lens of the past, anyone would say he was doing a spectacular job.

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