RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteThis expansive book is a deeply researched historical novel set in the 1930s and ’40s, told as a conventional narrative, sampling several genres along the way. The book is at once a gangster story, a mystery, a study of class and manners, a tour of the Brooklyn Naval Yard, rich with details of shipbuilding and the history of deep-sea diving techniques, a glimpse into the tough lives of merchant seamen, a thrilling tale of terror and rescue at sea on the Indian Ocean, and a commentary on the transformative effects of wartime on gender roles … The novel is saturated with water and maritime images and facts, starting with an epigraph by Melville, ending in a fog-shrouded final, tender scene, and everywhere in between.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteAlthough set in the post-9/11 era, this big book is old-fashioned in the best sense of the term, combining a heartbreaking coming-of-age tale with a thrilling suspense story … While the novel is cerebral and erudite, the key characteristic that will keep you reading is its enormous heart, the evident affection and tenderness the author feels for her characters, such that the reader cannot help but care about them as well…There are a couple of romantic plot lines, but the most compelling relationship, by far, is the friendship between Theo and Boris. You will remember these indelible characters for a long time.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...arguably [Patchett's] best novel ... Ms. Patchett has a keen ear for the hurtful banter and eloquent silences of children and adolescents, and her young characters are believable, sympathetic and maddening ... her writing is elegant and economical, a pleasure to read. Commonwealth is an ambitious and accomplished book that will please Ms. Patchett’s current fans and surely win her many new ones.
RaveThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette...the real gift of this book is the opportunity to reflect on the considerations and choices of one unusually thoughtful individual about how to use his limited time to its best advantage, for him and his family ... [an] unforgettable memoir destined to become a classic.