Ann Patchett’s ‘The Commonwealth’ covers decades, goes nowhere

CommonwealthCommonwealth by Ann Patchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unfortunately, besides crafting thoughtful characters and well-written sentences, there is little good in Ann Patchett’s latest novel. Starting in the mid 1960s, “The Commonwealth” covers five decades in the lives of the Keating and Cousins families.
I enjoyed the manner in which Patchett tells her epic tale and stuck with it hoping to come away with a satisfying finish. However, the few characters with sound judgement get little time in this book. An excess of alcohol at the opening christening party kicks off a slew of poor decisions, starting with the kiss that dissolves marriages, blends families, erects excuses for self-absorbed parents, and molds gun-toting, gin-drinking children. Lives go up in smoke and people die. In the end, nothing much is accomplished.

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