Literary Hub

30 Books in 30 Days: Commonwealth

 In the 30 Books in 30 Days series leading up to the March 16 announcement of the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award winners, NBCC board members review the 30 finalists. Today, NBCC board member Jane Ciabattari offers an appreciation of fiction finalist Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth (Harper).

Ann Patchett’s beguiling new novel begins in a Southern California suburb where Fix and Beverly Keating are hosting a christening party for their second daughter Franny. A deputy district attorney named Bert Cousins crashes the party. He has business with the Fix, a Los Angeles police officer, and also wants some time free from his brood of three children and pregnant wife. Bert doesn’t come empty handed; he shows up with a bottle of gin. After several boozy hours, Bert impulsively kisses Beverly, and many lives begin to unravel.

Two marriages end, and six step-siblings are left unmoored. At first they shuttle between parents, gathering for summers in Virginia. Then one vacation adventure leads to tragedy, and one son’s death. Everyone in the blended family carries this scar forward, but for the children it’s particularly painful because of the secrets they share. In a seamless, vibrant narrative Patchett reveals the consequences of an impulsive act over five decades. In her mid-twenties Franny shares the story of her family’s tragedy with her lover, Leo Posen, an award-winning author. He appropriates her tale for a novel, which ultimately becomes a film seen by most of the family members.

Betrayals, forgiveness and the shifting intensities of family connections are at the heart of this brilliantly structured and riveting novel—a book Patchett, winner of the Orange Prize for Bel Canto, has called her most autobiographical yet.

Originally published in Literary Hub.

Interese conexe

Mai multe de la Literary Hub

Literary Hub13 min cititePolitics
Do Global Financial Crises Inevitably Reinforce Capitalism?
The following conversation appears in Everything Must Change!: The World after COVID-19, available now from OR Books. * Maja Kantar: I, like many people, have been closely following the news for updates on Covid-19. And one thing I have picked up on
Literary Hub2 min citite
Douglas Stuart Reads From His Booker Prize Winner, Shuggie Bain
Damian Barr’s Literary Salon tempts the world’s best writers to read exclusively from their latest greatest works and share their own personal stories. Star guests include Jojo Moyes, John Waters, Yaa Gyasi, Mary Beard, Diana Athill and Louis de Bern
Literary Hub7 min citite
Bruce McCall: The Story Behind Eight New Yorker Covers
I published my first New Yorker cover in July 1993, and my last (for now) in January 2020. I’d hoped to keep on until l smashed William Steig’s all-time record number, 117. It wasn’t to be. As the Parkinson’s gradually ruined my ability to draw and p