Sunday, November 27, 2016

Commonwealth

by Ann Patchett
Nov 1-20, 2016

Ann Patchett is truly one of my favorite authors. Her first fiction release in five years, Commonwealth did not disappoint. I savored every word. Stories that span decades are the kind I really sink my teeth into. I love being fully invested in the characters, their lives. It's a commitment for 300-plus pages that I crave. And Patchett's words invite you in from page one.

Commonwealth takes chronological leaps from past to present to the near past and back again. Some people complain about this, but for me it's a challenge that I accept. I like to be kept on my toes and pay attention to every word. If every novel was written linearly, what a boring world this would be!

From what I've read, Franny, the main character, is fashioned around Patchett's own life. Write what you know. My favorite scenes were of the six step-siblings getting into all kinds of trouble as children in Virginia. In a way it reminded me of my own childhood in the 70s – the never-ending, hazy days and the mischief. Although I can happily say that my childhood never involved drugs and guns! The scenes that introduce the crux of the novel's title happened rather quickly and could have easily been overlooked. But I think this is part of the author's style; quick glimpses into scenes that will unknowingly change your life forever.
“All the stories go with you, Franny thought, closing her eyes. All the things I didn’t listen to, won’t remember, never got right, wasn’t around for."
I'm in love with this formula.

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