Virtual Book Club Commonwealth
by Ann Patchett
December is the perfect time to find your favorite spot and settle in with your coffee for a longer read. Remember this is a virtual book club. We won’t check on your progress, but you might spy another reader at your local Caffe Ladro. Maybe the two of you will discuss the book, and maybe you’ll make a new friend.
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett inspects how one chance encounter can change the lives of two families indelibly. The story follows the lives of six children whose adults are cops and lawyers. Shadow those kids as the sun burns their skin while they hike to a lake in Virginia. Bear witness to their struggles into adulthood as they manage work, college, and families of their own. Empathize with them as they endure the dysfunction any family of origin can create.
Patchett’s prose is precise even as her narrators shift. She creates distinct and believable voices for her story tellers. Commonwealth spans five decades of relationships. We meet the six children, some as babies, and watch them as traverse the years, finally caring for their elderly parents. As is true of life, this tale contains humor and heartache. Patchett’s kind attention to the flaws in her characters lends a generous spirit to the book. Such benevolence is a loving whisper, especially during the holiday season.
You don’t have to take our word for it. Below are three reviews that might have you heading to the library or the book store. If you’re planning a road trip, we suggest listening to the audiobook.
If you enjoy Commonwealth, Ann Patchett has written other fiction and non-fiction. Patron Saint of Liars was her debut novel, and Bel Canto was perhaps her most acclaimed. Her non-fiction, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, is a collection of essays. Truth and Beauty, a memoir about her friendship with Poet Lucy Grealy, is both powerful and throughtful.
Patchett is a champion of the small book store and co-owns Parnassus in Nashville.
We hope you enjoy Commonwealth. Perhaps you will decide to explore Patchett’s other work.