Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett... A Review

I didn't know what to expect from Ann Patchett. I hadn't read anything by her before this book. There seemed to be a buzz in the air about a new Ann Patchett novel, and so I decided I would open the pages of this book for a brief look. What I found was wonderous! I was swept up into the story of these two ordinary families almost immediately and spent the next 50 or so years with them. At around page 182 I had an AHA moment and appreciated this story even more if that could even happen. What have I taken away from Commonwealth? That I love Ann Patchett, and that I loved this book!

Without giving too much of the story away, because that's the fun part to discover all a novel has to offer on your own, Commonwealth begins with a simple drunken kiss at a christening party that begins an affair, causes two divorces, two broken families, the unlikely bonding of 6 children, some of whom are related and trying to survive being ripped from their normal routine and trying to survive a tragedy that touched all their lives one summer long ago. Commonwealth follows all the characters through the ups and downs of trying to navigate life. You are reading it all in a book, which you discover is a book, and you can't help but feel something for each one of them. Empathy, hate, saddness and heartbreak, it's all there.

The writing is so inviting, I found myself not being able to put the book down even though I was just going to read a small bit to get a feel for Ann Patchett's writing style. I felt I was living through the story right along with these characters that were so well developed that they could just walk off the pages. And the story was so interesting right to the end. Each character had it's own voice and shared with us their point of view.

My initial thought was that this novel would be similar to The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney, about a disfunctional family dealing with the everyday lessons of life and eachother. But Commonwealth is so much more than that and so much better. I would say that if you enjoyed The Nest, which I did, you will enjoy Commonwealth even more. If you enjoy literary fiction that revolves around the story of an ordinary family, just go out a pick up a copy of Commonwealth! It is moving and beautifully written.

Pulbished by Harper and released Sept. 13th.

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