Ann Patchett, CLSC Author, Commonwealth; Jane Hamilton, CLSC Author, The Excellent Lombards

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Location Hall of Philosophy

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center; (716) 357-6250

Authors Ann Patchett and Jane Hamilton come together to discuss their books, Commonwealth and The Excellent Lombards.

Ann Patchett, Commonwealth

In her latest book, bestselling author Ann Patchett tells the enthralling story of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives.

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. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

Told with equal measures of humor and heartbreak, Commonwealth is a meditation on inspiration, interpretation, and the ownership of stories. It is a brilliant and tender tale of the far-reaching ties of love and responsibility that bind us together.

Ann Patchett is the author of seven novels and three books of nonfiction, including Bel Canto and State of Wonder. Patchett's first published work was in The Paris Review, where she published a story before she graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. Patchett’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, ELLE, GQ and Vogue. In 2006, she was the editor of the annual anthology The Best American Short Stories. Her work has received numerous awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award for Bel Canto, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Jane Hamilton, The Excellent Lombards

Mary Frances “Frankie” Lombard is fiercely in love with her family's sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. 

But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. 

Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie's roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go. 

This book, said Ann Patchett, “is the book Jane Hamilton was born to write, and it is a book that thrilled me to read.”

Jane Hamilton is the author of seven books, including the novels The Book of Ruth, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction, Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award, and the Wisconsin Library Association Banta Book Award; and A Map of the World, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. Her novel The Short History of a Prince was shortlisted for the 1999 Orange Prize. In 2000, Hamilton was named a Notable Wisconsin Author by the Wisconsin Library Association. A graduate of Carleton College, Hamilton lives in and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin.