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Publisher's Summary

It is 1964: Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening uninvited, where he notices a heart-stoppingly beautiful woman. When Bert kisses Beverly Keating, his host's wife, he sets in motion the joining of two families. In 1988, Franny Keating, now 24, meets one of her idols, the famous author Leon Posen.

After telling him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story. Franny never dreams that the consequences of this encounter will extend into the lives of her scattered siblings and parents.

©2016 Ann Patchett (P)2016 W.F. Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"There is a stillness and beauty to Ann Patchett's writing that takes the breath away.... Patchett's mastery of language is matched only by her narrative abilities." ( The Times)
"Enchanting prose and wondrous storytelling." ( Economist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    28
  • 3 Stars
    17
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    4

Performance

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    34
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    26
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    16
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    6
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    5

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    39
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    22
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    15
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    7
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    3
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story. Engaging narrator.

Loved this saga of two families. Read well with good voices. Only draw back of listening in the car is I would have liked to draw myself a little family diagram. So many characters it was a bit confusing unless you super concentrate. Highly recommend though.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Book Club selection

If you could sum up Commonwealth in three words, what would they be?

American soap opera

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

As an escape from the everyday, it was fine and I think it made me appreciate my own daily life.

Which character – as performed by Laurence Bouvard – was your favourite?

It changed as the book progressed.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Possibly the ending.

Any additional comments?

I did enjoy being able to listen to the book instead of listening to the radio to and from work. I find it hard to find time to read at home but did enjoy this for a change. Had I actually read the book, I doubt if I would have finished it. I did enjoy it more towards the end.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story

A little hard going at first but once i got into it i couldn't stop till I had finished.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully constructed story of a blended family

This story will resonate with so many people. Ann Patchett tells a story with so much patience and restraint but captures so much.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Voices

The voices for the characters were very unappealing
Hard to follow story
Here there and everywhere

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Unusual family saga

An enjoyable read, focussing on a split family and the issues they face over many years - was well written.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Found narrator difficult...

I am a big fan of Ann Patchett. State of Nature and Run are amongst my favourite novels. I don't rate Commonwealth as highly although I did enjoy it. I struggled with the narrator. She had a hard time with male voices and I think it would have been better for her to have read ing her own voice than to attempt a bad remediations of men.

Overall, the book was satisfying and I look forward to Patchett's next.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • LAA
  • 09-12-2016

Commonwealth

Sorry narrater.
Pretty OK story but hard to enjoy due to narrator's inadequate reading ability.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • jennifer
  • 14-09-2016

For the first time

Ann Patchett is a genius but the person narrating her audiobook is so painfully bad that I can't make it through the whole thing. It's genuinely distracting.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • opinion
  • 16-08-2017

Can I say that this has been a bit disappointing

Likes; some of the writing is quite poetic and it is easy to read
A plot point is woven throughout the book.
I had some favourite characters. And there were some thought provoking bits.
Dislikes; a lot of pages describing the mundane tedious parts of day to day life, makes for a lot of boringness. Jumping from present to past with a tonne of characters. I thought that I was feeling confused because I was listening to the story, but friends who read it, also felt confused. All in all a dull book for me.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Karen G
  • 06-04-2018

A struggle...

The narrators voice was irritating and made the story difficult to access . I wouldn’t recommend this one

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • susan lowes
  • 11-04-2017

dreadful marration<br />

childlike narration. ridiculous attempts at male voices. totally overwhelmed the story. read this yourself.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful