By Ann Patchett
September 1, 2016
Reviewed on Wireless Books Otago Access Radio 105.4FM 15 October 2016 also on podcast
It is 1964: Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating’s christening party uninvited and notices a heart-stoppingly beautiful woman. When he kisses Beverly Keating, his host’s wife, he sets in motion the joining of two families whose shared fate will be defined on a day seven years later.
In 1988, Franny Keating, now twenty-four, has dropped out of law school and is working as a cocktail waitress in Chicago. When she meets the famous author Leon Posen one night at the bar, and tells him about her family, she unwittingly relinquishes control over their story.
Told with equal measures of humour and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a powerful tale of a families far-reaching bonds of love and responsibility – and a mediation on inspiration, interpretation and the ownership of stories.