Magazine September 26, 2016, Issue

Out of the Past

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett (Harper, 336 pp., $27.99)

‘Life,” thinks one character in Commonwealth, “was a series of losses. It was other things too, better things, but the losses were as solid and dependable as the earth itself.” Ann Patchett’s new book is melancholy without being morose. Adultery, illness, separation, jealousy, resentment, death: She certainly doesn’t grant her characters easy passage through life. Commonwealth is a book about two families united by a foolish decision in a dim bedroom and, later, a tragedy.

Patchett is a Catholic novelist but also one with the lowercase “c.” Her plots do not have the theological sting of Flannery O’Connor, nor does she

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


The Wage-Floor Roof of the Working-Class Ghetto Helen Andrews’ review of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir, by J. D. Vance, in the August 15 issue summarizes Vance’s effort to explain the factors ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Whoever used that hammer on Hillary’s phones should loan it to Huma Abedin. ‐ Acting as if it were an arm of the Clinton campaign, the FBI dumped the contents ...
Politics & Policy


A MEMORY OF FRANKLIN STREET Heaven surrounded us, all sweetness then, Bright sky and earth, so calm and more than fair; Warm and expansive, welcoming, so when We passed a building it seemed more ...


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Rat Patrol

Rat Patrol

Illegal leaks of classified information should be treated as a serious offense. But they would be easier to prevent if less information were classified.