A novel detailing the complex relationships within six blended siblings.
|Commonwealth is a book about relationships; relationships amongst siblings of blood and siblings of blended relationships and of two sets of parents. But the primary thrust of the book is the relationships between the siblings.
What makes the book absolutely fascinating is how Patchett manipulates words and twists the plot. The plot is sheer simplicity. An infidelity begins at a neighborhood party. Both marriages fail and the familial result is a blended group of siblings who really are deeply committed to one another. We see the siblings growing, loving, and progressing toward death over the next 50 years. It is a beautifully written, fascinating book.
Usually, when we pick up a good book, we read a linear tale. If not every page, then certainly every chapter is sequential. The story line is just that; it is a straight line very much in sequence with what just transpired and what is going to transpire. This is not how Commonwealth is written nor how the plot line moves. This book is not linear. Reading this book can be like walking across a rope bridge where steps can be missing or moved forward or backward as you move. If you are not paying attention you will miss something important or something that is very important in chapter three has lost all importance by chapter five.
By the time you have reached Chapter Two you realize that Ann Pachett owes much to William Faulkner. Personally, I like the technique. It forces the reader to pay attention to not only what is happening but to what everyone is thinking. In a certain respect, Pachett has done something with the technique that is absolutely brilliant and worth touching upon. She has the descriptive ability of Thomas Wolfe and she uses it like an artist's brush. I think she is by far one of the best writers to come out of America since Faulkner, Wolfe, and John Dos Passos.