The first book I read written by Ann Patchett was Bel Canto. I was so much impressed by the story line, language and craft that I ended up ordering and devouring every bit of ‘This is the story of a happy marriage’, which was a collection of her personal writings and articles. Once I got habituated and addicted to her writing, my next natural selection was ‘Commonwealth’, which is her latest work published in 2016. The impact that this novel had on me was so robust that, every single day I felt a previously unknown desperation to be home after long hours at work just to resume reading it.
Ann Patchett is an American writer, who has won the Orange prize for fiction for Bel Canto. Commonwealth is a remarkably well written family story that leaves an imperishable imprint in your mind. The language is lucid and clear,making it a congenial read. The story of two families is narrated over a span of more than 50 years in this 300 pages novel. Ann Patchett maintains a fine balance in writing which makes every one of her characters adorable in some aspect. The characters appear humane and real with all the malices and kindness a human being can possess. Franny , who ‘couldn’t stand to be hated ‘ with her undeniable awe for all the writers in the world was a character whom I could easily identify with. The author has tried an unprecedented style of narration by attempting to portray an incident from the perspective of different characters. It appears that it is easier to make people cry by your words; but to make someone laugh is a herculean task. Ann Patchett has achieved it effortlessly by her wit and astuteness leaving me laughing out aloud in many instances.
The novel is about the certainty of calamities and uncertainties in human lives. Parallel to that quandary exists the truth that inspite of everything that happens, life will go on. The certainty of the forward journey of human life makes us peaceful and gives us courage to live. Fix, one of the characters in this book rightly said, ” Hope is the blood of life”. This book is a must read for anyone who is awed by the myriads of paths a human mind can travel.