'It is remarkable for me to remember now that I thought it would be possible to walk away from her, that she might have gone on living, but without me. I know now I never would have had the strength of my convictions. I am living in a world without Lucy. I have no choice about that. If she were alive and I had that choice, I wouldn't have been able to last without her for a day.'
One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly--thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families. When, in her twenties, Franny begins an affair with the legendary author Leon Posen and tells him about her family, the story of her siblings is no longer hers to control. Their childhood becomes the basis for his wildly successful book, ultimately forcing them to come to terms with their losses, their guilt, and the deeply loyal connection they feel for one another. Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories from an award-winning, bestselling author.
From the NYT bestselling author of Bel Canto and Run, a major and explosively ambitious new novel, set in the Amazonian jungle, both a gripping adventure story and a profound investigation of difficult human choices.
Marina Singh is a research scientist at Vogel, a pharmaceutical institute in Minnesota, inconveniently in love with her boss, Mr. Fox . When one of her colleagues is reported to have died while following up on the progress of a field team based in Brazil, Marina is dispatched by Mr. Fox to the Amazon to uncover the truth of his death. And his widow wants his effects. She travels to Manaus, then down into the Amazonian delta, deep into the dense, dark, insect-infested jungle. The research team is looking into the development of a new miracle drug that could revolutionize Western society. A local tribe has the bark of a certain tree, it yields a substance which allows them to conceive late into middle age: many of the women are getting pregnant into their sixties and seventies. The problem is that the team is taking too long: they have been silent for two years, and Marina has been tasked to find out what is holding back their progress. The second problem is more serious: the team is being headed up by the daunting figure of Annick Swenson, an eminent and fiercely uncompromising scientist who was once Marina's colleague, and towards whom Marina has very complicated feelings.
What Marina learns will change her life. In a novel that is packed with amazing twists and surprises, Ann Patchett returns with immense confidence to a broad canvas, teeming with atmosphere and characters and rich with narrative. Remarkable events - fights with anacondas; encounters with cannibals; deaths; re-births - and profound moral decisions come together in a novel that will enthrall her many readers and fans, and is guaranteed to be a major bestseller.
The beloved New York Times bestselling author reflects on home, family, friendships and writing in this deeply personal collection of essays. "Any story that starts will also end." As a writer, Ann Patchett knows what the outcome of her fiction will be. Life, however, often takes turns we do not see coming. Patchett ponders this truth in these wise essays that afford a fresh and intimate look into her mind and heart. At the center of These Precious Days is the title essay, a suprising and moving meditation on an unexpected friendship that explores "what it means to be seen, to find someone with whom you can be your best and most complete self." When Patchett chose an early galley of actor and producer Tom Hanks'' short story collection to read one night before bed, she had no idea that this single choice would be life changing. It would introduce her to a remarkable woman--Tom''s brilliant assistant Sooki--with whom she would form a profound bond that held monumental consequences for them both. A literary alchemist, Patchett plumbs the depths of her experiences to create gold: engaging and moving pieces that are both self-portrait and landscape, each vibrant with emotion and rich in insight. Turning her writer''s eye on her own experiences, she transforms the private into the universal, providing us all a way to look at our own worlds anew, and reminds how fleeting and enigmatic life can be. From the enchantments of Kate di Camilo''s children''s books to youthful memories of Paris; the cherished life gifts given by her three fathers to the unexpected influence of Charles Schultz''s Snoopy; the expansive vision of Eudora Welty to the importance of knitting, Patchett connects life and art as she illuminates what matters most. Infused with the author''s grace, wit, and warmth, the pieces in These Precious Days resonate deep in the soul, leaving an indelible mark--and demonstrate why Ann Patchett is one of the most celebrated writers of our time.
An inspirational primer based on the author's 2006 commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College discusses how to manage life's crossroads, recounts times of struggle from her own life, and celebrates the benefits of not knowing what is to come.