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.
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, most recently, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, a collection of essays.
"An engaging, consummately told tale." - New York Times
"Emotionally lucid. . . . Patchett is at her lyrical best when she catalogues the jungle." - The New Yorker
"Patchett's storytelling here feels warmer and richer and more resonant than anything she's done before." - Entertainment Weekly
"Reading Commonwealth is a transporting experience... It feels like Patchett's most intimate novel and is without doubt one of her best." - Los Angeles Times