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Commonwealth: A Novel

Commonwealth: A Novel

Geschrieben von Ann Patchett

Erzählt von Hope Davis


Commonwealth: A Novel

Geschrieben von Ann Patchett

Erzählt von Hope Davis

Bewertungen:
4/5 (232 Bewertungen)
Länge:
10 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 13, 2016
ISBN:
9780062561718
Format:
Hörbuch

Beschreibung

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.

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Sep 13, 2016
ISBN:
9780062561718
Format:
Hörbuch

Über den Autor

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.


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Rezensionen

Was die anderen über Commonwealth denken

4.2
232 Bewertungen / 109 Rezensionen
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Leser-Rezensionen

  • (4/5)
    Commonwealth refers to the State of Virginia, known as the Commonwealth of Virginia where part of this novel is set. It is about family relationships that develop, grow and change as the decades go by. There is a span of about 50 years starting in the early 1960's with lots of flashbacks.This is the story of two families, two divorces, four parents and six children. The kids end up in blended families and become like real sisters and brothers. Since they have little adult supervision, they are on their own a lot and go off together to explore (some of the situations are scary).There are a lot of characters in this novel, some are not likable but they all seem like actual, real-life people. They are flawed but deep-down they care about each other. While we follow each of the parents and children, the novel belongs to Franny as we are introduced to her in the first chapter when she is less than one year old.Ann Patchett is a talented author and I have read two of her other works: Bel Canto and State of Wonder. She knows how to grab you at the beginning and manages to keep your interest throughout.
  • (5/5)
    Wat een geweldig boek is dit. Vooral het begin (heel traag maar erg intrigerend) en het einde zijn bijzonder mooi. Maar daar tussenin prachtige ontroerende passages. Over twee gezinnen die uit elkaar vallen omdat de man (Bert) van het ene echtpaar een relatie begint met Beverly, de vrouw van het andere stel. In totaal zes kinderen die ieder hun eigen verhaal hebben. Het boek verspringt in de tijd en dat maakt het ook interessant. Ik had het uit en begon direct weer opnieuw te lezen.
  • (4/5)
    A story of two broken families, the Keatings and the Cousins, and how one decision to crash a christening party results in broken marriages, fractured memories, and is about how families remember and judge themselves. Told in eliptical style, there are missing decades and out of order story telling. The first 32 pages set up the rest of the book. In many way's this could be read as several short stories glued together. The setting is California and Virginia.Reading more on past reviews adds more meaning to this story.
  • (5/5)
    I thought this was a wonderful book and Hope Davis as narrator just added more to the story. The story centres on two families in California, the Keatings and the Cousins. Fanny Keating's baptism was the reason for a party at the Keating's house and Bert Cousins crashed the party. Bert was a state prosecutor and Fanny's father, Fix, was in the police department but the two barely knew each other. Bert just wanted to get away from his three kids and pregnant wife so, remembering a colleague's remark, he got a bottle of gin and went to the party. It was the first time he had seen Fanny's mother, Beverly, but he was smitten. Later he kissed her and in the ensuing months the two had an affair and decided to leave their spouses. Bert was from Virginia so he moved back with Beverly and her two children to Virginia. His first wife, Teresa, stays in California with their four children. Those four travel to Virginia every summer to be with their father except that Bert lets Beverly take all the responsibilty for looking after all six children. On one visit they are staying with Bert's parents and the oldest son dies. It takes us the almost the whole rest of the book to learn the cause of death but there are hints dropped here and there. For instance, the kids discover Bert's gun in the glove compartment of the car and take it out. Will this be another case of accidental discharge of a firearm causing death? Whatever the cause of his death it has a lasting impact on the five remaining children and the four parents. When Franny takes up with a famous writer and repeats the story of her family to him he uses it to write his first novel in years and it gets a rave review. Albie Cousins, the youngest child in that family, who has been wandering from place to place since setting fire to his school and being sent to live with his father, stumbles across a copy and realizes it is about their family. His raging encounter with the writer leads him to find Franny who he still considers a sister and he starts to reconnect with his family. In turn, Albie's outrage makes Franny realize she can't stay with the writer and she starts life anew. Fifty years after the opening sequence Franny is at another party at her mother's house in Virginia. Bert and Beverly split up after the son's death and Beverly married a wealthy man who now has dementia. Franny leaves that party to go see Bert which ties up the book very neatly.Patchett has said that this book is somewhat autobiographical as her parents divorced and she ended up part of a blended family. Anyone who is not an only child will recognize the sibling dynamics in this story and also recognize that, in the end, your siblings are your first and best friends.
  • (3/5)
    Decades ago, I read Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto and thoroughly enjoyed the story. Commonwealth opens in suburban California with a christening party and a party crasher breaking two families apart. Ann Patchett’s interviews about this novel suggest that many parts of the story follow your own life. The story shows the change in public opinion concerning divorce and illicit romance beginning in the 1960’s. Patchett explores the story line of each of the six children and the two sets of parents during a span of fifty years. One daughter, Franny, shares her life history with her lover, who then writes a novel which is then produced as a movie. I enjoyed Patchett’s heightened suspense when one of the children dies with no explanation as to what happened. This remains unsolved until the end of the novel. The intimate details of the six children maturing to adulthood remains cloudy regarding their spouses and their children, they seem to hatch fully grown. I also felt that Bert, Beverly, and Teresa needed more development.
  • (5/5)
    I was just blown away by what a good job Patchett did not only surprising me with the solution to a mystery, my assumptions about which formed my early opinions of the characters, but by how the solution also exposed and exploded my biases. I would not say that this is a mystery though--No. It's a family epic. Loved the twists and turns that each family member's life took, and loved the dynamic, deft way that the prose moved, transitioning from period to period in the family's history and from character to character without losing me.
  • (3/5)
    Spoiler Alert!!
    I am feeling somewhat let down by this novel. Bel Canto is a long time fave, and I have enjoyed many of Patchett's other novels, but there was always a character I loved and wanted to spend time with. In this case I felt nothing for any of the family members because I never got a full picture of who they were and why they did what they did. For me it would have worked better had Patchett focused on two or three of the family members and taken us thru their experiences with the family dynamics and events. Spending any time in Bert's head was a waste because I found him so shallow, same with Beverly. We are told about Bert's parents but given no insight as to why they are the way they are, act the way they do...Fix and Franny interested me more, but I did not get enough of a complete characterization for either of them. The novel has a great deal of "telling" rather than "showing".
    The jumps in time did not work for me here, they seemed random, and I felt I had missed so much important information. I really enjoyed the idea of hijacking someone's story and how that might affect family members, but I didn't feel the author made the most of this angle. Since it provided the novel's title, I expected more...
  • (4/5)
    I'm seriously impressed by this book! There's just so much going on. The characters are vivid. The narrative is composed of stories happening at various points in the characters' lives, and they're told out of order to create nuanced portraits. The chapters are long and can almost exist as short stories, but the cumulative effect is so much more. The jacket copy gives you the basics of the plot, but in the hands of such a skilled writer the story is taken to another level. Oh Ann Patchett, how I love you.
  • (4/5)
    Bert Cousins arrives uninvited to Franny Keating's christening party and ends up kissing her mother which starts a chain reaction in both his and her family that will resonate over four decades and entwine the fates of six children and two separate sets of parents and grandparents.When she is in her twenties, Franny has an affair with a Salingeresque author, Leon Posen. He mines the stories of her family and turns them into a best selling (and award winning) novel. Franny's childhood is now out of her control.Patchett tells this story with her usual deftness, combining humor and sorrow and creating characters the reader really care about This is a wonderful story of family acceptance and love.
  • (4/5)
    I love Ann Patchett, and loved this book. Most of the characters are pretty believable, and there are really no good guys or bad guys, just a lot of flawed individuals. Two marriages, with 6 children between them break up, and all sorts of life (and death) ensues. The children are flawed, but they are children after all, and they go through a terrible experience (for much of the book the details of this are confusing, but it all becomes clear.) The children work to become responsible adults. The adults work to understand each other. The ending was a bit abrupt and unsatisfying. I wish it had tied up a few more loose ends. But then I'm not the author, and it had to end somewhere, sometime.
  • (4/5)
    My mind wandered for the first half of this book, which is never a good sign. If that lack of focus was the words on the pages, or my mind doing a walkabout, is not knowable at this time. Maybe the book deserves another reading, but the best parts of the book weren't rewarding enough to incline me to reread it again at this point.
  • (5/5)
    Best book of 2016 so far.
  • (3/5)
    A somewhat quiet character study.
  • (3/5)
    I know this book was a best seller for quite a while, but I'm not sure why. It centers around two families fractured by divorce with six children between them. Some of the kids - and adults - are mentioned only briefly, and the story skips around in time making it somewhat confusing. It was OK, but not great.
  • (5/5)
    This is the story of how. a seemingly innocent kiss has the power to destroy two marriages and families. A tragedy bonds step siblings together as they struggle to come to terms with the incident. A novel based on their childhood-into a film which e family to look back at their past. This is very well written with all the emotions implicit in familial relationships.
  • (3/5)
    Commonwealth is the story of divorce and remarriage, of blending families together and of coming to terms with your own story. Bert Cousins leaves his wife for Beverly who is also married. The two move from the LA area to Virginia where they raise her two children and where Bert's four children come to spend their summers. The story flashes back and forward over five decades, following some of the children into adulthood and rehashing critical turning points in family members lives. Their family story is ultimately turned into a successful book after Franny, an infant when her parents divorced, tells her life story to her boyfriend and famous author. The best selling book is titled Commonwealth which later becomes a movie, forcing family members to take yet another look at their past.
  • (3/5)
    Have you ever wondered if a life event had not happened what impact this would this have had on your future? This is the premise of the latest Ann Patchett novel. Bert Cousins invites himself to Franny Keating's christening party. Prior to the end of the party, Bert Cousins kisses Franny's marriage resulting in the dissolution of two marriage and the combing of two families. No author I am currently reading can squeeze so much from ordinary life as Ann Patchett. Although not the best of her work, I'm glad I read this thought-provoking novel.
  • (4/5)
    A special thank you to Edelweiss and HarperCollins Canada for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    A chance encounter at a christening party for Franny Keating, ignites a spark between the hostess and an uninvited guest that puts in motion a chain of events that will span five decades and forever join two families.

    When she is in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leo Posen. She tells him stories about her family which he then uses as the basis for a novel that becomes extremely successful which sets another chain of events in motion; the children must come to terms with their guilt over the loss they share and the responsibility that it brings which binds them together.

    What is amazing about Patchett's novel is that many of the characters go one step beyond flawed to be unlikeable, and that for most of the story, it feels there is not much going on. That being said, there are so many nuances and layers that unfold and it becomes a truly mesmerizing, heartbreaking, and relatable story.
  • (3/5)
    Two families, six children, a divorce, and living on different sides of the country - that's the situation for this novel. It kept my attention, but I would categorize it as just ok. The time frame changes a lot, and the transitions are often confusing. I had to reread sections or flip back several times. It's not consistent time frames either, so it's hard to keep track. The idea of a novel with the same title as this book was introduced and was intriguing, but nothing really developed around that idea.
  • (3/5)
    A rambling narrative with lots of names, first names, traveling back and forth in time and in the end not saying very much.
  • (3/5)
    Commonwealth has one of the most memorable opening chapters -I immediate read it again to be sure no connections were missed.Finding my first favorite character in the hospital was unexpected and sad.Reading on, the rating dropped from a possible 5 to barely a 3,yet it could rate quite high as a bible for Therapists to give to clients contemplating an affair.Midway through the book, it felt like something was left out with Franny, Leon Posen, and the summer mansion:how could she not have said ANYTHING about her new servant role when they were in bed each night andwhy did she continue to accept it? Even low ambition and few goals don't account for this.She took better care of the lobsters than of herself.So much death and too many characters who don't make sense with all the ends tying up so neatly.Kumar and kids end up as my favorite characters.
  • (4/5)
    I am a fan of Ann Patchett! this novel did not disappoint me. I like how the novel moved through time and how are the characters were devolpted. each had strengths and large flaws.
  • (4/5)
    Ann Patchett is a superb writer - that's unquestionable. That said, Commonwealth is a less immediately accessible book than the perfectly crafted Bel Canto, which rates on my 'top novels of all time' list. It lacks the tight crucible of the earlier book, and requires investment to get to know the range of characters before the threads start weaving together. It repays that effort, creating by the end a deeply satisfying read - if it doesn't hook you in straight away, keep reading - the gold is coming.
  • (4/5)
    It begins at a party. Then the next couple of chapters made me think it would be like a collection of short stories about a couple of families and their kids at various times in their lives. But the more you read, the more the stories unwind, entwine, and reveal the family secrets. It captivated me, as most of Ann Patchet's books do. They are about life or a single event, but they capture people and life wonderfully.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed the weaving of the character's stories, perceptions, self-reflections, and relationships. Although the focus began with the parents you soon enjoyed glimpses of the children growing up and into adulthood. There is a regret, sadness and bittersweetness to their stories, yet also a sweet message of family and forgiveness. The reflections were engaging and characters had depth.
  • (4/5)
    For me, reading Patchett is always a pleasure. Commonwealth is an unusually complex narrative, back and forth in time across two intersecting families (with part of the novel's narrative becoming a novel within the novel). What I love most about Patchett is the compassion she brings to her characters, and the careful attention to their idiosyncratic natures. In this work, there is also the fascinating interplay between memory and experience, which makes the final paragraph especially powerful. (Brian)
  • (4/5)
    I was skeptical at first, and it may be a bit too self-conscious for some. Very much a writer's book for writer's. That said, some excellent observation of character and moments of insight and tension.
  • (3/5)
    Joy's review: A beautifully written and interesting story about 6 children in a blended family, but somehow, I just didn't care. Each section of the book jumps 10 or more years into the future; this was just enough so that it took me about 20 pages into each part to work out who was who again. Still, it was thought provoking and (did I mention?) beautifully written.
  • (3/5)
    Not a fan of this story.
  • (4/5)
    I love Ann Patchett's stories because of the writing, the characters, the humour and the humanity. Commonwealth does not disappoint.It starts in the 1960s in Oceanside California at a baby girl's christening. Neighbours and friends have crowded into the home of Beverly and Fix Keating for the party for their young daughter. Much gin and orange juice is consumed and the story changes direction from there at the hands of Albert Cousins, a district attorney and Beverly.The story consists of flashbacks detailing what happened to the children of two ruined marriages. The Keaton's 2 daughters Caroline and Franny spend their summers with the Cousinses: Cal, Holly, Jeannette and Alvie at a farm in Virginia belonging to their grandparents. Strong bonds of friendship and loyalty develop between them as they are left unsupervised to grow up.Commonwealth is the political definition of Virginia and it is also the title of the book that Franny's lover Leo Posen titles his best selling book of the two dysfunctional families.Franny, Jeannette and Allie figure prominently in the book for different reasons but their presence reflects on their childhoods and the very close bonds that were created as children.The story is beautifully written, the characters are so well rounded and interesting, what happens to all the characters is fascinating reading.The story is about how families survive and surpass their rocky beginnings and love one another in spite of difficulties. It is about forgiveness and love.