Is this the best Ann Patchett novel yet? Possibly and I loved reading it. The opening scene is great; she paints beautifully the typical family gathering with all its oddities. How well does Patchett write about family relationships, the bickering and squabbling, the loves and affections. This is a sweeping novel about the impact that one event, one death has on lives. The impact on the families, it changes how each lives their lives, makes decisions and ultimately who they love and cannot love.
She has an amazing ability to describe scenes in vivid detail, give the reader a picture of the scene. You feel you are part of the conversation such as when Caroline and Franny are out with their Dad and Albie calls to ask them to check on his mother. It’s like you are in the back seat of the car listening.
I’ll admit I am a bit of a fan of Patchett’s writing and in Commonwealth she was written a truly wonderful novel. With humour and heartbreak this novel, spanning five decades is a brilliant and tender novel that will absorb you and make you want to reread it immediately.