Commonwealth

By: Ann Patchett
Published: September 13, 2016

Flight Pairings

Bel Canto

The Getaway Car

Anne’s thoughts

Finally, a new Patchett novel! And one the author says is largely inspired by her own family history. In the early pages, two families fall apart. We spend the rest of the story examining how each of the family members put themselves back together after the break—or, in some cases, didn’t. There’s so much to discuss here.

Latest Discussion

Note: Spoilers beyond this point

  • Bel Canto is my favorite, probably because I love opera, especially Renee Fleming opera! (Although I was sort of disappointed in the actual opera based on the book. Oh well!) I really liked State of Wonder and Truth and Beauty is also great. I haven’t read Story of a Happy Marriage–yet, I’m sure I will eventually. I did read Magician’s Assistant…[Read more]

  • This question about if the divorces were inevitable or avoidable in these situations was running through my head as well when I was reading the book. I was interested to read the different perspectives here.

    Berts behavior attitude and actions at the beginning of the book is inevitably destroying his marriage. Rather than investing and spending…[Read more]

  • This question about if the divorces were inevitable or avoidable in these situations was running through my head as well when I was reading the book. I was interested to read the different perspectives here.

    Berts behavior attitude and actions at the beginning of the book is inevitably destroying his marriage. Rather than investing and spending…[Read more]

  • [FORUM] Ginger replied to the topic Read-alikes in the forum Group logo of CommonwealthCommonwealth [SPOILERS] 3 weeks, 5 days ago

    I just finished The Children, based on Anne’s recommendation as a readalike for The Nest. The Children is a great readalike for both, but I think it’s a GREAT readalike for Commonwealth, based on a combined family.

    I loved The Children. A great read. Anyone else read it?

  • Elizabeth Foss posted an update in the group Group logo of CommonwealthCommonwealth 1 month ago

    I’m only two chapters into the audio book, but I’m hoping you all can help me with a trigger warning. Are there lots of references to cancer? Lots of scenes in chemo infusion centers? Lots of cancer death? Some cancer death that’s really hard to hear?

    • Although I can empathize with the difficulties associated with reading scenarios dealing with cancer (very difficult), for me Commonwealth did not delve so deeply that it triggered a negative reaction. But that is just my humble opinion. I would not want you to encounter a hard read. I am that way about caring for aging parents, the difficulties…[Read more]

      • It’s interesting you mention that. Yesterday, we got very bad news regarding my father, who has Alzheimer’s. I went for a walk, and listened to the second chapter, which is Franny with her ailing father while he gets chemo. I’ve had cancer and really don’t like reliving the chemo experience. I have plugged through it for a couple books and been…[Read more]

        • Elizabeth, I am truly, very sorry. I know how very difficult this is. I think I would delay reading Commonwealth for now. There may not be enough to trigger an emotional reaction but I think your instinct to not read it may be justified. You will remain in my heart and thoughts, Elizabeth.

          • Anne replied 1 month ago

            Elizabeth! It’s so good to see you here.

            I would put down Commonwealth. It’s not a cancer book at all, and the references are small and contained, but there is wistfulness about parents aging, becoming frail and occasionally ill, and it sounds like now is not the time for you to enter into that willingly in fiction. I’m not sure if you know how…[Read more]

            • Elizabeth, I concur with Anne. The wistfulness about parents was an issue for me in Commonwealth. I thought about you through the night. Those thoughts became prayers. 😘 Isaiah 41:10

    • Elizabeth,
      I have dealt with cancer in my family and in my life for the past 20 years. I didn’t feel that the scenes were too descriptive or were overwhelming for me. Keep reading please. Thanks!

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