Staff Pick

Readers partial to family sagas or collections of interlocking narratives will love Ann Patchett’s masterful Commonwealth (HarperCollins, $27.99). Taking up different points of view, with reports that sometimes contradict each other, the novel begins with Franny Keating’s christening party, which turns into a drinking party when Bert Cousins shows up with a bottle of gin. But the event has an unexpected outcome, launching a chain of events that leads to the breakup of two marriages and the creation of a blended family. Over the years, one child dies, the others grow up. Reaching adulthood, Franny Keating becomes romantically involved with a writer who bases his successful novel, Commonwealth, on her family’s experiences. Has he stolen Franny’s story? Has he stolen the whole family’s story, or has he only used key events to craft a narrative of his own? Many chapters of this tale might easily stand alone as short stories; instead, Patchett has crafted a novel spanning several generations and offering different perspectives on a single painful truth. This novel poses the questions of who a narrative belongs to and what is or isn’t appropriation, issues that Patchett knows well from the real life controversy about her memoir, Truth and Beauty.

Commonwealth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062491794
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 13th, 2016

Commonwealth: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062491831
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Harper Perennial - May 2nd, 2017

Staff Pick

Much of this powerful memoir appeared in Diski's column in the London Review of Books. Diski died in April and she writes here about mortality, oncology treatments and her various hospitalizations for mental illness and drug addiction with a distinctive and intimate voice. But the really fascinating pages explore her years as a troubled teen living in the home of Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing. Why Lessing took her in is far from clear, since she seems to have had some glaring blind spots, and had herself abandoned two of her own children when, as a promising writer, she moved to London. An insightful and memorable book.

In Gratitude Cover Image
ISBN: 9781632866868
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Bloomsbury USA - May 17th, 2016

Staff Pick

Hindsight is 20/20. But when Viv becomes obsessed with Mercury, a horse boarded at the stable where she works, her optometrist husband Donald questions how much he knows her. This fast-paced novel delivers a complex and highly intelligent exploration of intimacy and half-truths and why it is that we cannot always see what's right before our eyes.

Mercury: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062437501
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper - September 27th, 2016

Mercury: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062437518
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - June 6th, 2017