Monday, January 9, 2017
Ann Does It Again, Girls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
All last year, darlings, people were talking about "Commonwealth." It was by Ann Patchett, one of my favorite writers, and I knew I would read it, no matter what. I did not expect it to be as compelling as it was, but that's Ann.
Actually, with her interlocking of characters and their various dramas, she ventures a little into Jane Smiley territory, especially with regard to The Trilogy. The most fascinating aspect of the book is the relationship between Franny, one of the daughters, and this renowned middle-aged author named Leon Poser. Both characters are well drawn; so much so, that I began to ask myself--is this supposed to be Joyce Maynard and J.D. Salinger? There are no direct parallels, save the age, and the irony of one member of this couple being named Franny (like Franny Glass!!!!!!!). There is no position taken here on the nature of the relationship, and it does not seem exploitation for its own sake. It is just part of a larger tapestry that Patchett paints; the concept of which is only realized about midway. Whether detailing the Cousin or Keating families, I was drawn to this narrative with a ferocity I could not have anticipated; it was, indeed, a book hard to put down, and one I was sorry to see end.
Her previous book, "State Of Wonder," had all the lyricism and linguistic skill one always expects from Ann Patchett, but her narrative there was lacking. "Commonwealth" may be her best book since "Bel Canto--" and that is saying a lot.
I wish I had read it in 2016. It would have made my Ten Best list, for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!