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Cocktails & Castoffs uses every part

DIG brings Atlanta chefs together for a zero-waste dinner benefiting sustainable agriculture abroad

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According to the latest statewide waste characterization study, food scraps make up the largest fraction of residential waste and the second largest of commercial waste. That’s alarming at a time when 28 percent of Georgia children live in food insecure households, according to the Georgia Food Bank Association. What’s more alarming is that the latest Georgia waste characterization study was conducted in 2005. That’s two years before the kale craze hit, for reference.

Clearly, we aren’t thinking enough about what we throw out — and about how much food we’re wasting every week. Atlanta-based nonprofit Development In Gardening (DIG) wants to change that. The food and farming-based organization, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, works with communities across sub-Saharan Africa to enhance food security and promote nutrition-sensitive, sustainable agriculture in vulnerable and HIV-affected regions. On Sun., Nov. 6, DIG brings its tasty lessons home to Atlanta with Cocktails & Castoffs, a fundraising event focused on connection, education, and eatin' good.

No value assignedWith a theme of “Food Waste and Loss,” Cocktails & Castoffs invites foodies and environmentalists alike to not only learn about domestic and foreign food issues, but also to taste the benefits of kitchen mindfulness. Seven of Atlanta’s hottest chefs have taken on DIG’s zero waste challenge and will present to attendees a series of innovative, mouthwatering dishes that minimize food waste as much as possible. Headlining chefs include Linton Hopkins (Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch, the Bread Box), Tiffanie Barriere (One Flew South), Angus Brown (8arm, Octopus Bar), Kevin Clark (Home Grown), Yoshifusa Kinjo (Nakato), Savannah Sasser (Twain's), and Kamal Grant (Sublime Doughnuts).

"I don't think a lot of people think about food waste as much as chefs," says Grant, who will be making a sweet panelle with poached pears for the event, inspired by Italian dishes designed to make good use of leftover bread. "We don't want to have any waste."

Last year, attendees sampled a selection of waste-minimizing treats, including banana peel cupcakes, plum and peach pit-infused vodka cocktails, and beet, prosciutto, and toasted marshmallow stack skewers paired with a cucumber avocado soup. This year’s menu includes pot roast biscuits from Clark, a chicken and winter squash soup from Hopkins, and a number of dishes still under wraps. Each chef blends their own background and sensibilities into their approach as they craft appealing and waste-conscious dishes.

“Japanese culinary culture has a zero waste focus by default,” Nakato owner Sachiyo Nakato tells CL, speaking on behalf of chef Kinjo, who will prepare steamed Japanese pumpkin with mint chicken. “When we heard about what the organization was representing, we thought it would be a good thing to take part in. The biggest challenge was finding ways to blend Japanese sensibilities with American tastes.”

No value assignedIn addition to serving up good eats, Cocktails & Castoffs will feature presentations on home and community food sustainability from DIG. Representatives will speak on DIG's recent efforts abroad, to be funded by proceeds from the event.

"I think most people tend to dismiss these challenges as 'oh, that happens in Africa, I've already formed my opinions/assumptions on HIV, or Africa, or malnutrition,'” DIG co-founder Sarah Koch says, “and so they stop being open to learning more.”

Currently, DIG is operating in Uganda, teaching agricultural skills to the Batwa pygmies — an ancient society of hunter-gatherers turned conservation refugees in 1992, when they were evicted from their jungle home to make way for a World Heritage Site for gorilla conservation. DIG asserts that food waste here in the US affects food issues abroad and that paying more attention to waste here can help reduce issues that we so often see as unrelated.

"What's so cool about this event is that it pulls two worlds together, by saying what we're doing here affects what's happening there,” Koch continues. “What DIG is doing over there is relevant, because we're looking at food waste at the beginning and end of the supply chains, and it bridges the two worlds, which is really hard to do at other events for an organization like ours."

Whether you’re a curious foodie looking to try something new or just someone looking to minimize your waste output, Cocktails & Castoffs offers up a deliciously enriching experience.

Cocktails & Castoffs 2016. $75-$1,000. 5-7 p.m., Sun., Nov. 6. Gallery L1, 828 Ralph McGill Blvd. 619-274-7218. reaplifedig.org. Tickets here.



More By This Writer

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The high schooler's dream is to fall asleep and, as if by magic, wake up to a new, tidy, idealized life: to suddenly be more attractive and more popular. But when Lacey Jones, protagonist of Emily Ruben's debut novel I Was A Bitch, wakes to that dream? She finds out that sometimes makeup covers an ugly bruise.

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Author Ruben, a 20-year-old college student from France, earned publication through data-driven publishing startup Inkitt, by winning the publisher’s Grand Novel Prize. Inkitt, which put out the well-received novel Just Juliet last month, uses a blend of algorithms and reader engagement to publish books that might go unnoticed by more traditional publishers. Inkitt made headlines recently, publicly posting its author contract and transitioning from author-serving middleman to independent publisher.

Ruben’s win is well-deserved: I Was A Bitch is a solid debut, an especially impressive one coming from an author still in college. The premise is an interesting twist on the classic life-changing makeover trope in high school stories — Ruben manipulated it to spin a mystery that is as suspenseful as it is sweet. As Lacey rekindles a forgotten romance, the figures that appear in her life hide secrets and motives that must be teased out and assembled covertly.

Written in first-person from Lacey’s perspective, readers will find themselves slipping into her head and getting wrapped up in both the mystery and the awkward-but-endearing romance Ruben conjures.

The novel’s biggest issue is that it can get long in the tooth. The book’s length gives Ruben plenty of space to establish characters and pull the plot along, but certain segments can drag on long enough to draw attention. This is most apparent midway through the novel, when only a handful of mysteries remain and the focus turns, for a time, primarily to Lacey's love life. There is but one lingering concern: throughout the novel, amnesiac Lacey criticizes a number of female classmates by calling them “bitches,” referring to the stereotypical attractive, popular girl. Lacey is harshest towards her popular, pre-coma self, vilifying many of her own past actions. This presents a fascinating premise and internal conflict as Lacey examines her old life sans context, but readers may find the frequent use of the term uncomfortable.

That said, Ruben is hindered by a lack of editorial work from Inkitt: a number of errors and awkward phrases that a copy editor would have caught mar the reading experience. It does both reader and author a disservice; pulling the former out of key moments while reflecting poorly on the latter.

Despite these problems, I Was A Bitch is a formidable foot in the door for Emily Ruben. It reads fast and easy, even if some readers might find the references and awkward-teen wordplay a bit jarring. Especially if those readers don't know that it took five and a half seasons and almost as many years to find out who Pretty Little Liars' threatening antagonist A really was.

I Was A Bitch by Emily Ruben. Inkitt. $12.99. 508pp."
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The high schooler's dream is to fall asleep and, as if by magic, wake up to a new, tidy, idealized life: to suddenly be more attractive and more popular. But when Lacey Jones, protagonist of Emily Ruben's debut novel ''I Was A Bitch'', wakes to that dream? She finds out that sometimes makeup covers an ugly bruise.

As the novel opens, Lacey is stunned to find herself in a hospital bed, weak and hardly able to blink. Waking up from a two-month coma, the former 16-year-old plain Jane tries to make sense of the time gap caused by a car accident she cannot recall. Her efforts are complicated when Lacey discovers that not only is she ''18'' and missing two years of memory — she's also the gorgeous queen bee of her high school. Thrust into a world of unfamiliar friends, a football king of a boyfriend, and an enigmatic love interest on the side, ''I Was A Bitch'' chronicles Lacey’s struggle to make sense of her life as an outsider in an insider’s body.

Author Ruben, a 20-year-old college student from France, earned publication through data-driven publishing startup Inkitt, by winning the publisher’s Grand Novel Prize. Inkitt, which put out the well-received novel ''Just Juliet'' last month, uses a blend of algorithms and reader engagement to publish books that might go unnoticed by more traditional publishers. [http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/inkitt-author-contracts-transparency/|Inkitt made headlines recently], publicly posting its author contract and transitioning from author-serving middleman to independent publisher.

Ruben’s win is well-deserved: ''I Was A Bitch'' is a solid debut, an especially impressive one coming from an author still in college. The premise is an interesting twist on the classic life-changing makeover trope in high school stories — Ruben manipulated it to spin a mystery that is as suspenseful as it is sweet. As Lacey rekindles a forgotten romance, the figures that appear in her life hide secrets and motives that must be teased out and assembled covertly.

Written in first-person from Lacey’s perspective, readers will find themselves slipping into her head and getting wrapped up in both the mystery and the awkward-but-endearing romance Ruben conjures.

The novel’s biggest issue is that it can get long in the tooth. The book’s length gives Ruben plenty of space to establish characters and pull the plot along, but certain segments can drag on long enough to draw attention. This is most apparent midway through the novel, when only a handful of mysteries remain and the focus turns, for a time, primarily to Lacey's love life. There is but one lingering concern: throughout the novel, amnesiac Lacey criticizes a number of female classmates by calling them “bitches,” referring to the stereotypical attractive, popular girl. Lacey is harshest towards her popular, pre-coma self, vilifying many of her own past actions. This presents a fascinating premise and internal conflict as Lacey examines her old life sans context, but readers may find the frequent use of the term uncomfortable.

That said, Ruben is hindered by a lack of editorial work from Inkitt: a number of errors and awkward phrases that a copy editor would have caught mar the reading experience. It does both reader and author a disservice; pulling the former out of key moments while reflecting poorly on the latter.

Despite these problems, ''I Was A Bitch'' is a formidable foot in the door for Emily Ruben. It reads fast and easy, even if some readers might find the references and awkward-teen wordplay a bit jarring. Especially if those readers don't know that it took five and a half seasons and almost as many years to find out who ''Pretty Little Liars''' threatening antagonist A ''really'' was.

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The high schooler's dream is to fall asleep and, as if by magic, wake up to a new, tidy, idealized life: to suddenly be more attractive and more popular. But when Lacey Jones, protagonist of Emily Ruben's debut novel I Was A Bitch, wakes to that dream? She finds out that sometimes makeup covers an ugly bruise.

As the novel opens, Lacey is stunned to find herself in a hospital bed, weak and hardly able to blink. Waking up from a two-month coma, the former 16-year-old plain Jane tries to make sense of the time gap caused by a car accident she cannot recall. Her efforts are complicated when Lacey discovers that not only is she 18 and missing two years of memory — she's also the gorgeous queen bee of her high school. Thrust into a world of unfamiliar friends, a football king of a boyfriend, and an enigmatic love interest on the side, I Was A Bitch chronicles Lacey’s struggle to make sense of her life as an outsider in an insider’s body.

Author Ruben, a 20-year-old college student from France, earned publication through data-driven publishing startup Inkitt, by winning the publisher’s Grand Novel Prize. Inkitt, which put out the well-received novel Just Juliet last month, uses a blend of algorithms and reader engagement to publish books that might go unnoticed by more traditional publishers. Inkitt made headlines recently, publicly posting its author contract and transitioning from author-serving middleman to independent publisher.

Ruben’s win is well-deserved: I Was A Bitch is a solid debut, an especially impressive one coming from an author still in college. The premise is an interesting twist on the classic life-changing makeover trope in high school stories — Ruben manipulated it to spin a mystery that is as suspenseful as it is sweet. As Lacey rekindles a forgotten romance, the figures that appear in her life hide secrets and motives that must be teased out and assembled covertly.

Written in first-person from Lacey’s perspective, readers will find themselves slipping into her head and getting wrapped up in both the mystery and the awkward-but-endearing romance Ruben conjures.

The novel’s biggest issue is that it can get long in the tooth. The book’s length gives Ruben plenty of space to establish characters and pull the plot along, but certain segments can drag on long enough to draw attention. This is most apparent midway through the novel, when only a handful of mysteries remain and the focus turns, for a time, primarily to Lacey's love life. There is but one lingering concern: throughout the novel, amnesiac Lacey criticizes a number of female classmates by calling them “bitches,” referring to the stereotypical attractive, popular girl. Lacey is harshest towards her popular, pre-coma self, vilifying many of her own past actions. This presents a fascinating premise and internal conflict as Lacey examines her old life sans context, but readers may find the frequent use of the term uncomfortable.

That said, Ruben is hindered by a lack of editorial work from Inkitt: a number of errors and awkward phrases that a copy editor would have caught mar the reading experience. It does both reader and author a disservice; pulling the former out of key moments while reflecting poorly on the latter.

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Article

Wednesday October 26, 2016 01:00 pm EDT
Inkitt contest winner explores the popular life with a fresh twist | more...
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There’s much to love about Atlanta. There’s the thriving arts scene, the city’s unique history, and the distinct cultural identity embodied in our beloved Southern gem. But despite all the ways Atlanta shines, we can’t overlook and ignore our problems: inequity, gentrification, issues of race and sexuality, and so on. Atlanta’s got them all, and those issues can’t be addressed unless we, as a city, make the time and build the space to talk about them.

With that goal in mind, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs organized Elevate: Microcosm, the latest event to come from the Elevate art and culture programming series. Following July’s one-day event Elevate: Summer, which kicked off an initiative to make Elevate a year-long experience with seasonal programming, Microcosm returns to standard form as a week-long festival in the middle of October.

Where past Elevate events have been either purely celebratory (like last year’s Forever I Love Atlanta) or examined the mechanisms and flow of the city (as in 2013’s Time, People, Transit), Elevate: Microcosm shines a spotlight on Atlanta as a whole — good and bad. Over 200 artists will explore through art, performance, and dialogue how Atlanta reflects the rest of our world and how we deal with social, racial, sexual, and economic issues.

Curated by an artistic hive-mind composed of Allie Bashuk (Brutal Studio, The Goat Farm Arts Center), Monica Campana (Living Walls), Mark DiNatale (The Goat Farm Arts Center), and Pastiche Lumumba (the late The Low Museum), Microcosm provides a chance to unpack and discuss where we stand and as we approach a crucial turning point in our history — as communities, as a city, and as part of a country. The four curators bring their unique backgrounds and artistic specializations to the table, gathering a selection of art and programming that is as diverse in form and style as Atlanta itself.

Centered around Broad Street in the South Downtown area, Microcosm will include interactive wordplay performances organized by Soul Food Cypher; a Meptik light installation on Broad Street, utilizing awnings built during the 1996 Olympics; a large-scale Yoyo Ferro mural; and Removing, a dance performance created by choreographer Noé Soulier. Other participating artists for this year’s festival include musician Abdu Ali, instrumental ensemble Bent Frequency, the Chroma dance troupe, artist FRKO, musician Elysia Crampton, and more.

In addition to art installations and performances, Microcosm will host a variety of informative and interactive panels, discussing the Atlanta community and its relationship to the city’s past, present, and possible futures. Panel programming includes a C4 Atlanta workshop discussing gentrification in Atlanta, as well as Flux Projects’ community-created For Freedoms installation. In addition, as part of Elevate's mission to inspire future art and community developments, attendees will have the opportunity to learn skills from experts and fellow community members. For example, Pedro Alonzo, Anne Dennington, Ryan Gravel, Camille Love, and Victoria Camblin will lead a discussion on how to utilize public space to communicate stories and information.

“I hope that Elevate helps highlight Atlanta’s identities and histories, but also pushes us as artists and curators to be more responsible with our artistic practice,” curator Monica Campana told CL via email statement.

Whether you’re looking for new ways to help improve your community or just looking for thought-provoking art, Elevate: Microcosm has you covered. The week-long festival will give attendees a chance to engage with artists, historians, and fellow residents and community members. It’s a celebration of Atlanta, built for Atlanta and the people who love it. Don’t miss your own party.

Additional information and scheduling information can be found on Elevate’s website.

Elevate: Microcosm. Free. Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 13-21. Various locations. 404-546-6815. elevateatlart.com."
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There’s much to love about Atlanta. There’s the thriving arts scene, the city’s unique history, and the distinct cultural identity embodied in our beloved Southern gem. But despite all the ways Atlanta shines, we can’t overlook and ignore our problems: inequity, gentrification, issues of race and sexuality, and so on. Atlanta’s got them all, and those issues can’t be addressed unless we, as a city, make the time and build the space to talk about them.

With that goal in mind, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs organized ''Elevate: Microcosm'', the latest event to come from the Elevate art and culture programming series. Following July’s one-day event ''Elevate: Summer'', which kicked off an initiative to make Elevate a year-long experience with seasonal programming, ''Microcosm'' returns to standard form as a week-long festival in the middle of October.

Where past Elevate events have been either purely celebratory (like last year’s ''Forever I Love Atlanta'') or examined the mechanisms and flow of the city (as in 2013’s ''Time, People, Transit''), ''Elevate: Microcosm'' shines a spotlight on Atlanta as a whole — good and bad. Over 200 artists will explore through art, performance, and dialogue how Atlanta reflects the rest of our world and how we deal with social, racial, sexual, and economic issues.

Curated by an artistic hive-mind composed of Allie Bashuk (Brutal Studio, The Goat Farm Arts Center), Monica Campana (Living Walls), Mark DiNatale (The Goat Farm Arts Center), and Pastiche Lumumba (the late The Low Museum), ''Microcosm'' provides a chance to unpack and discuss where we stand and as we approach a crucial turning point in our history — as communities, as a city, and as part of a country. The four curators bring their unique backgrounds and artistic specializations to the table, gathering a selection of art and programming that is as diverse in form and style as Atlanta itself.

Centered around Broad Street in the South Downtown area, ''Microcosm'' will include interactive wordplay performances organized by Soul Food Cypher; a Meptik light installation on Broad Street, utilizing awnings built during the 1996 Olympics; a large-scale Yoyo Ferro mural; and ''Removing'', a dance performance created by choreographer Noé Soulier. Other participating artists for this year’s festival include musician Abdu Ali, instrumental ensemble Bent Frequency, the Chroma dance troupe, artist FRKO, musician Elysia Crampton, and more.

In addition to art installations and performances, ''Microcosm'' will host a variety of informative and interactive panels, discussing the Atlanta community and its relationship to the city’s past, present, and possible futures. Panel programming includes a C4 Atlanta workshop discussing gentrification in Atlanta, as well as Flux Projects’ community-created For Freedoms installation. In addition, as part of Elevate's mission to inspire future art and community developments, attendees will have the opportunity to learn skills from experts and fellow community members. For example, Pedro Alonzo, Anne Dennington, Ryan Gravel, Camille Love, and Victoria Camblin will lead a discussion on how to utilize public space to communicate stories and information.

“I hope that [Elevate] helps highlight Atlanta’s identities and histories, but also pushes us as artists and curators to be more responsible with our [artistic] practice,” curator Monica Campana told ''CL'' via email statement.

Whether you’re looking for new ways to help improve your community or just looking for thought-provoking art, ''Elevate: Microcosm'' has you covered. The week-long festival will give attendees a chance to engage with artists, historians, and fellow residents and community members. It’s a celebration of Atlanta, built for Atlanta and the people who love it. Don’t miss your own party.

Additional information and scheduling information can be found on [http://www.elevateatlart.com/elevatemicrocosm|Elevate’s website].

[http://www.ocaatlanta.com/?programs=elev|Elevate: Microcosm. ]''[http://www.ocaatlanta.com/?programs=elev|Free. Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 13-21. Various locations. 404-546-6815. ]''''[http://www.ocaatlanta.com/?programs=elev|elevateatlart.com][http://www.ocaatlanta.com/?programs=elev|.]''"
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There’s much to love about Atlanta. There’s the thriving arts scene, the city’s unique history, and the distinct cultural identity embodied in our beloved Southern gem. But despite all the ways Atlanta shines, we can’t overlook and ignore our problems: inequity, gentrification, issues of race and sexuality, and so on. Atlanta’s got them all, and those issues can’t be addressed unless we, as a city, make the time and build the space to talk about them.

With that goal in mind, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs organized Elevate: Microcosm, the latest event to come from the Elevate art and culture programming series. Following July’s one-day event Elevate: Summer, which kicked off an initiative to make Elevate a year-long experience with seasonal programming, Microcosm returns to standard form as a week-long festival in the middle of October.

Where past Elevate events have been either purely celebratory (like last year’s Forever I Love Atlanta) or examined the mechanisms and flow of the city (as in 2013’s Time, People, Transit), Elevate: Microcosm shines a spotlight on Atlanta as a whole — good and bad. Over 200 artists will explore through art, performance, and dialogue how Atlanta reflects the rest of our world and how we deal with social, racial, sexual, and economic issues.

Curated by an artistic hive-mind composed of Allie Bashuk (Brutal Studio, The Goat Farm Arts Center), Monica Campana (Living Walls), Mark DiNatale (The Goat Farm Arts Center), and Pastiche Lumumba (the late The Low Museum), Microcosm provides a chance to unpack and discuss where we stand and as we approach a crucial turning point in our history — as communities, as a city, and as part of a country. The four curators bring their unique backgrounds and artistic specializations to the table, gathering a selection of art and programming that is as diverse in form and style as Atlanta itself.

Centered around Broad Street in the South Downtown area, Microcosm will include interactive wordplay performances organized by Soul Food Cypher; a Meptik light installation on Broad Street, utilizing awnings built during the 1996 Olympics; a large-scale Yoyo Ferro mural; and Removing, a dance performance created by choreographer Noé Soulier. Other participating artists for this year’s festival include musician Abdu Ali, instrumental ensemble Bent Frequency, the Chroma dance troupe, artist FRKO, musician Elysia Crampton, and more.

In addition to art installations and performances, Microcosm will host a variety of informative and interactive panels, discussing the Atlanta community and its relationship to the city’s past, present, and possible futures. Panel programming includes a C4 Atlanta workshop discussing gentrification in Atlanta, as well as Flux Projects’ community-created For Freedoms installation. In addition, as part of Elevate's mission to inspire future art and community developments, attendees will have the opportunity to learn skills from experts and fellow community members. For example, Pedro Alonzo, Anne Dennington, Ryan Gravel, Camille Love, and Victoria Camblin will lead a discussion on how to utilize public space to communicate stories and information.

“I hope that Elevate helps highlight Atlanta’s identities and histories, but also pushes us as artists and curators to be more responsible with our artistic practice,” curator Monica Campana told CL via email statement.

Whether you’re looking for new ways to help improve your community or just looking for thought-provoking art, Elevate: Microcosm has you covered. The week-long festival will give attendees a chance to engage with artists, historians, and fellow residents and community members. It’s a celebration of Atlanta, built for Atlanta and the people who love it. Don’t miss your own party.

Additional information and scheduling information can be found on Elevate’s website.

Elevate: Microcosm. Free. Thurs.-Fri., Oct. 13-21. Various locations. 404-546-6815. elevateatlart.com.       0,0,10      20835289         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/10/Yoyo_Ferro_at_Broad_Street_mural___10_5_16___photo_by_Kristin_Ferro.57f65f1bb4592.png                  Examine Atlanta with 'Microcosm' "
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Article

Tuesday October 11, 2016 04:00 pm EDT
Local artists explore relationship between community and world | more...
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  string(4238) "STORM WARNING: Heavy rains spell disaster in Frank Reddy’s debut novel.Fiction Advocate




In Christianity, water is considered a pure agent; during baptism, immersion in water is meant to purify and regenerate. For pastor Will Fordham, however, water brings only disaster and ruin. Water killed Will’s father, it killed Will’s young son, and it’s all left him hollow: a wayward drunk, shunned even by the church congregation he once presided over. Only an island off the coast of Savannah offers Fordham a chance at salvation. So begins Eyes On The Island, the debut novel by Atlanta journalist Frank Reddy.

At a glance, Eyes On The Island appears to be your average tale of a broken man finding himself in nature, your typical Jack London-inspired fare. But Reddy instills in his readers hints of doubt from the very beginning. Will, diagnosed with epilepsy, has experienced strange visions from a young age. Creeping shadow-figures and images of giant clockwork gods haunt Reddy’s protagonist, and the question always hangs in the air: are they real?

“Speaking over the eerily robotic intonations of the weather radio, he chanted the verse. It was his mantra during times like these. The air lit up around him, tiny pixels of strange light that only he could see. He swore to others they were there. He saw them plain as day.”

Will travels to the island of Muskogee, owned by one Esther Campbell — an old widow, fighting developers attempting to seize the island through eminent domain loopholes — to serve as pastor to both Esther and the Muskogee artist’s colony. Will is embraced by the colony, most notably by a boy named John. John reminds Will of his deceased son, and Will is the spitting image of John’s father, a reporter who died under mysterious circumstances. The two are drawn to each other, but in bonding with John, Will is pulled into a deadly mystery revolving around the charismatic Maxwell Summerour, the self-appointed, unchallenged leader of the artist’s colony.

Reddy’s novel is deceptive and the air of uncertainty makes Eyes On The Island a gripping thriller. Will’s epilepsy is used to great effect, with only two appropriate exceptions, the reader sees the world through the filter of Will’s mind. Will’s symptoms strike randomly, strange images or seizure-induced blackouts interrupting scenes, no matter the intensity of the moment. It leaves readers scrambling for answers, thrown off-kilter as they — alongside Will — must ground themselves in the aftermath, wondering what happened in the space between consciousness.

Reddy forces readers to question what is real and what is not. Are John’s concerns figments of his imagination, born from a lost father and an ill-fitting environment? Is Will seeing the hidden truths of the world, or is he simply hallucinating as a result of his disorder? The uncertainty of the world leaves readers on edge, eager to turn the page. Thanks to the images vividly described during one of Will’s epileptic episodes, readers familiar with H.P. Lovecraft could easily be convinced that Eyes On The Island was a cosmic horror story in disguise.

Eyes On The Island is solid, particularly for a debut novel. But it has issues, mostly involving length. It only sinks in during the final quarter, but the book feels too short to end in good standing. It comes off as though Reddy’s priorities weren’t quite in order. The final chapters are a thrilling whirlwind of events, but they can move too quickly for readers to fully understand. A rushed, condensed 60 pages feels like it needed 100. Yet a number of sex scenes that seem to serve no narrative purpose are included feeling like relics of a dropped subplot.

There are a number of similar relics in this novel. The dismissal of these ideas, information, and the plot points they represent is the novel’s greatest tragedy. Things that should be plot-critical are built up and then disregarded, wasting space and souring the book’s resolutions.

Despite its rough ending, Eyes On The Island is a delightfully entertaining debut, and readers can expect to finish it in a single sitting.

Eyes On The Island by Frank Reddy. Tues., Oct. 11. Fiction Advocate. $12.95. 166pp."
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In Christianity, water is considered a pure agent; during baptism, immersion in water is meant to purify and regenerate. For pastor Will Fordham, however, water brings only disaster and ruin. Water killed Will’s father, it killed Will’s young son, and it’s all left him hollow: a wayward drunk, shunned even by the church congregation he once presided over. Only an island off the coast of Savannah offers Fordham a chance at salvation. So begins ''Eyes On The Island'', the debut novel by Atlanta journalist Frank Reddy.

At a glance, ''Eyes On The Island'' appears to be your average tale of a broken man finding himself in nature, your typical Jack London-inspired fare. But Reddy instills in his readers hints of doubt from the very beginning. Will, diagnosed with epilepsy, has experienced strange visions from a young age. Creeping shadow-figures and images of giant clockwork gods haunt Reddy’s protagonist, and the question always hangs in the air: are they real?

“Speaking over the eerily robotic intonations of the weather radio, he chanted the verse. It was his mantra during times like these. The air lit up around him, tiny pixels of strange light that only he could see. He swore to others they were there. He saw them plain as day.”

Will travels to the island of Muskogee, owned by one Esther Campbell — an old widow, fighting developers attempting to seize the island through eminent domain loopholes — to serve as pastor to both Esther and the Muskogee artist’s colony. Will is embraced by the colony, most notably by a boy named John. John reminds Will of his deceased son, and Will is the spitting image of John’s father, a reporter who died under mysterious circumstances. The two are drawn to each other, but in bonding with John, Will is pulled into a deadly mystery revolving around the charismatic Maxwell Summerour, the self-appointed, unchallenged leader of the artist’s colony.

Reddy’s novel is deceptive and the air of uncertainty makes ''Eyes On The Island'' a gripping thriller. Will’s epilepsy is used to great effect, with only two appropriate exceptions, the reader sees the world through the filter of Will’s mind. Will’s symptoms strike randomly, strange images or seizure-induced blackouts interrupting scenes, no matter the intensity of the moment. It leaves readers scrambling for answers, thrown off-kilter as they — alongside Will — must ground themselves in the aftermath, wondering what happened in the space between consciousness.

Reddy forces readers to question what is real and what is not. Are John’s concerns figments of his imagination, born from a lost father and an ill-fitting environment? Is Will seeing the hidden truths of the world, or is he simply hallucinating as a result of his disorder? The uncertainty of the world leaves readers on edge, eager to turn the page. Thanks to the images vividly described during one of Will’s epileptic episodes, readers familiar with H.P. Lovecraft could easily be convinced that ''Eyes On The Island'' was a cosmic horror story in disguise.

''Eyes On The Island'' is solid, particularly for a debut novel. But it has issues, mostly involving length. It only sinks in during the final quarter, but the book feels too short to end in good standing. It comes off as though Reddy’s priorities weren’t quite in order. The final chapters are a thrilling whirlwind of events, but they can move too quickly for readers to fully understand. A rushed, condensed 60 pages feels like it needed 100. Yet a number of sex scenes that seem to serve no narrative purpose are included feeling like relics of a dropped subplot.

There are a number of similar relics in this novel. The dismissal of these ideas, information, and the plot points they represent is the novel’s greatest tragedy. Things that should be plot-critical are built up and then disregarded, wasting space and souring the book’s resolutions.

Despite its rough ending, ''Eyes On The Island'' is a delightfully entertaining debut, and readers can expect to finish it in a single sitting.

[http://fictionadvocate.com/eyes-on-the-island/|Eyes On The Island ]''[http://fictionadvocate.com/eyes-on-the-island/|by Frank Reddy. Tues., Oct. 11. Fiction Advocate. $12.95. 166pp.]''"
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In Christianity, water is considered a pure agent; during baptism, immersion in water is meant to purify and regenerate. For pastor Will Fordham, however, water brings only disaster and ruin. Water killed Will’s father, it killed Will’s young son, and it’s all left him hollow: a wayward drunk, shunned even by the church congregation he once presided over. Only an island off the coast of Savannah offers Fordham a chance at salvation. So begins Eyes On The Island, the debut novel by Atlanta journalist Frank Reddy.

At a glance, Eyes On The Island appears to be your average tale of a broken man finding himself in nature, your typical Jack London-inspired fare. But Reddy instills in his readers hints of doubt from the very beginning. Will, diagnosed with epilepsy, has experienced strange visions from a young age. Creeping shadow-figures and images of giant clockwork gods haunt Reddy’s protagonist, and the question always hangs in the air: are they real?

“Speaking over the eerily robotic intonations of the weather radio, he chanted the verse. It was his mantra during times like these. The air lit up around him, tiny pixels of strange light that only he could see. He swore to others they were there. He saw them plain as day.”

Will travels to the island of Muskogee, owned by one Esther Campbell — an old widow, fighting developers attempting to seize the island through eminent domain loopholes — to serve as pastor to both Esther and the Muskogee artist’s colony. Will is embraced by the colony, most notably by a boy named John. John reminds Will of his deceased son, and Will is the spitting image of John’s father, a reporter who died under mysterious circumstances. The two are drawn to each other, but in bonding with John, Will is pulled into a deadly mystery revolving around the charismatic Maxwell Summerour, the self-appointed, unchallenged leader of the artist’s colony.

Reddy’s novel is deceptive and the air of uncertainty makes Eyes On The Island a gripping thriller. Will’s epilepsy is used to great effect, with only two appropriate exceptions, the reader sees the world through the filter of Will’s mind. Will’s symptoms strike randomly, strange images or seizure-induced blackouts interrupting scenes, no matter the intensity of the moment. It leaves readers scrambling for answers, thrown off-kilter as they — alongside Will — must ground themselves in the aftermath, wondering what happened in the space between consciousness.

Reddy forces readers to question what is real and what is not. Are John’s concerns figments of his imagination, born from a lost father and an ill-fitting environment? Is Will seeing the hidden truths of the world, or is he simply hallucinating as a result of his disorder? The uncertainty of the world leaves readers on edge, eager to turn the page. Thanks to the images vividly described during one of Will’s epileptic episodes, readers familiar with H.P. Lovecraft could easily be convinced that Eyes On The Island was a cosmic horror story in disguise.

Eyes On The Island is solid, particularly for a debut novel. But it has issues, mostly involving length. It only sinks in during the final quarter, but the book feels too short to end in good standing. It comes off as though Reddy’s priorities weren’t quite in order. The final chapters are a thrilling whirlwind of events, but they can move too quickly for readers to fully understand. A rushed, condensed 60 pages feels like it needed 100. Yet a number of sex scenes that seem to serve no narrative purpose are included feeling like relics of a dropped subplot.

There are a number of similar relics in this novel. The dismissal of these ideas, information, and the plot points they represent is the novel’s greatest tragedy. Things that should be plot-critical are built up and then disregarded, wasting space and souring the book’s resolutions.

Despite its rough ending, Eyes On The Island is a delightfully entertaining debut, and readers can expect to finish it in a single sitting.

Eyes On The Island by Frank Reddy. Tues., Oct. 11. Fiction Advocate. $12.95. 166pp.             20833019         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/09/Eyes_on_the_Island_350.57d1707f80b5a.png                  Eyes On The Island''s holy hurricanes "
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Tuesday September 27, 2016 04:20 pm EDT
Frank Reddy's debut blows readers off their feet. | more...
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As part of its nationwide screening tour, indie film Reparation comes to the Plaza Theatre for a one-night show. The event will pair a screening of the 11-time award-winning film — including Best Film at the Santa Fe Film Festival and Audience Choice (Best Feature Drama) at the Sedona International Film Festival — with a talk-back Q&A with members of the cast and crew, moderated by WXIA’s Jeremy Campbell.

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Reparation is exceptional. The film blends moment-to-moment drama with an all-consuming mystery, leaving audiences glued to the edge of their seats. The soundtrack and cinematography match the flow and tone of the film perfectly. Perspective shots through gaps in staircases  build suspense and the thunder of piano keys strike at moments of peak tension. Reparation builds to a climax that leave viewers shocked and breathless — and at the same time, touched by the humanity of its characters.

“It’s a very powerful experience in theaters,” Co-writer and director Kyle Ham says. “I think most of us know someone who’s been in the military, and this provides a rare chance to get together and talk about films that touch on PTSD and the veterans who suffer from it.”

Reparation is set to release physically and digitally this holiday season, but until then the screening at the Plaza is the only chance Atlantans will have to see it. It’s an experience viewers won’t want to miss.

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As part of its nationwide screening tour, indie film ''Reparation'' comes to the Plaza Theatre for a one-night show. The event will pair a screening of the 11-time award-winning film — including Best Film at the Santa Fe Film Festival and Audience Choice (Best Feature Drama) at the Sedona International Film Festival — with a talk-back Q&A with members of the cast and crew, moderated by WXIA’s Jeremy Campbell.

Based on film co-writer Steve Timm’s play ''The Activist'', ''Reparation'' opens on peaceful countryside scenes before a grim question, posed by 9-year-old Charlotte (Dale Dye Thomas), which grabs hold of the audience: Why was her father shot in the face? 

To answer, the film turns back the clock to follow Charlotte’s father, Air Force officer Bob Stevens (Marc Menchaca), as he exits a VA hospital with a three-year, PTSD-induced memory gap and a mysterious companion in the form of the young Ralph (Brody Behr). Following Ralph’s advice, Bob moves forward — meeting the fiery Lucy (Virginia Newcomb), having Charlotte, and starting a family in his Indiana hometown. But when Jerome (Jon Huertas), a key figure in Bob’s forgotten past, appears to seek justice, Charlotte is struck with psychic nightmares. These vivid dreams — flashbacks of Bob’s time as an investigator in the Military Police — shake Charlotte, producing sketches that restore her father’s memories.

''Reparation'' is exceptional. The film blends moment-to-moment drama with an all-consuming mystery, leaving audiences glued to the edge of their seats. The soundtrack and cinematography match the flow and tone of the film perfectly. Perspective shots through gaps in staircases  build suspense and the thunder of piano keys strike at moments of peak tension. ''Reparation'' builds to a climax that leave viewers shocked and breathless — and at the same time, touched by the humanity of its characters.

“It’s a very powerful experience in theaters,” Co-writer and director Kyle Ham says. “I think most of us know someone who’s been in the military, and this provides a rare chance to get together and talk about [films that touch on PTSD and the veterans who suffer from it].”

''Reparation'' is set to release physically and digitally this holiday season, but until then the screening at the Plaza is the only chance Atlantans will have to see it. It’s an experience viewers won’t want to miss.

[http://plazaatlanta.com/new_website2/reparation-918-7pm/|Reparation. ]''[http://plazaatlanta.com/new_website2/reparation-918-7pm/|$9-12. 7 p.m. Sun., Sept. 18. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E. 404-873-1939. ]''''[http://plazaatlanta.com/new_website2/reparation-918-7pm/|reparationmovie.com][http://plazaatlanta.com/new_website2/reparation-918-7pm/|.]''"
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As part of its nationwide screening tour, indie film Reparation comes to the Plaza Theatre for a one-night show. The event will pair a screening of the 11-time award-winning film — including Best Film at the Santa Fe Film Festival and Audience Choice (Best Feature Drama) at the Sedona International Film Festival — with a talk-back Q&A with members of the cast and crew, moderated by WXIA’s Jeremy Campbell.

Based on film co-writer Steve Timm’s play The Activist, Reparation opens on peaceful countryside scenes before a grim question, posed by 9-year-old Charlotte (Dale Dye Thomas), which grabs hold of the audience: Why was her father shot in the face? 

To answer, the film turns back the clock to follow Charlotte’s father, Air Force officer Bob Stevens (Marc Menchaca), as he exits a VA hospital with a three-year, PTSD-induced memory gap and a mysterious companion in the form of the young Ralph (Brody Behr). Following Ralph’s advice, Bob moves forward — meeting the fiery Lucy (Virginia Newcomb), having Charlotte, and starting a family in his Indiana hometown. But when Jerome (Jon Huertas), a key figure in Bob’s forgotten past, appears to seek justice, Charlotte is struck with psychic nightmares. These vivid dreams — flashbacks of Bob’s time as an investigator in the Military Police — shake Charlotte, producing sketches that restore her father’s memories.

Reparation is exceptional. The film blends moment-to-moment drama with an all-consuming mystery, leaving audiences glued to the edge of their seats. The soundtrack and cinematography match the flow and tone of the film perfectly. Perspective shots through gaps in staircases  build suspense and the thunder of piano keys strike at moments of peak tension. Reparation builds to a climax that leave viewers shocked and breathless — and at the same time, touched by the humanity of its characters.

“It’s a very powerful experience in theaters,” Co-writer and director Kyle Ham says. “I think most of us know someone who’s been in the military, and this provides a rare chance to get together and talk about films that touch on PTSD and the veterans who suffer from it.”

Reparation is set to release physically and digitally this holiday season, but until then the screening at the Plaza is the only chance Atlantans will have to see it. It’s an experience viewers won’t want to miss.

Reparation. $9-12. 7 p.m. Sun., Sept. 18. Plaza Theatre, 1049 Ponce de Leon Ave. N.E. 404-873-1939. reparationmovie.com.             20833863         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/09/a025_c008_0629py4620000462f_comp2.57daec46cd3c4.png                  Reparation' won't let you forget "
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Thursday September 15, 2016 07:00 pm EDT
Drama and conversation come to the Plaza Theatre. | more...
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  string(4236) "ALL UNDER THE ORANGE TREES: ‘Commonwealth’ begins under the quiet California sun.HarperCollins



It takes losing control of a story to remind you why it was kept close to heart. This is one of many lessons to learn from Commonwealth, the latest novel by award-winning author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, Truth and Beauty). Spanning 50 years and two generations, Commonwealth examines two families bound, split, and stitched back together by coincidences and misfortunes. Though it opens with two divorces, Patchett’s latest offers a powerful message about the enduring bonds between loved ones.

Told through a series of anachronistic vignettes, Commonwealth opens with the story of how Albert Cousins and Beverly Keating meet through a christening party and a bottle of gin, linking both of their families in the process. What follows is a jaunt across a half-century of family history, as readers explore the ripples caused by Albert and Beverly’s summer kiss. These ripples soon turn become waves, carrying, pushing, and slamming against the six combined children of the Cousins-Keating family — the focus of the novel. When the six are brought together each summer, they function as a unit: arguing and bumping against one another like any group of siblings, but unified and resistant to the drama of their parents.

“The six held in common one overarching principle that cast their potential dislike for one another down to the bottom of the minor leagues: they disliked the parents. They hated them.”

From page one, Commonwealth is entertaining. The novel’s lighter tone meshes well, and as a result it reads like a series of recounted family stories, flitting from moment to moment as small details remind the narrator of related events. And these stories sound as they should — sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious. A bit dramatic and hard to believe at moments, but told so earnestly that you can only accept them as true. It gives Commonwealth a sense of reality that drives readers to invest themselves in the characters, tugging at their hearts when the novel begins to shine, as the Cousins-Keating children grapple with death, and six become five.

Stories are the fuel that powers Patchett’s narrative, and the surviving children carry the share the story of their sibling’s death, carrying it with them as they split apart in wake of it. The story, kept close to their hearts, becomes a link between them that persists, no matter how distant they become. After decades of being split apart, for example, two of the Cousins-Keating siblings meet in New York by chance, and their shared history allows them to reunite in a chapter that moved me so fiercely that I can recommend Patchett’s novel for it alone.

This bond carries across the anachronism; there is no moment where a Keating-Cousins child cannot reply on another member of their family, even when a close-kept secret becomes all too public, and the siblings’ trust in one another is betrayed. The smallest and greatest crises in the novel are each resolved with the help of family. Dysfunctions be damned, the bonds between the Keating-Cousins children endure, and the presentations of these bonds as timeless and powerful are Commonwealth’s greatest strength.

“’Where were you last night?’ Jeanette would ask, and Albie would think, You missed me.”

The primary flaw of Commonwealth lies in its anachronistic narrative, however. Though the plot and narrative are excellent, readers may find themselves lost after the first handful of time-skips, as they are barraged with character introductions and the premises of the ‘critical’ time periods. It balances out in the end, once Patchett has linked enough events and periods together, but when combined with the slower pace of the early chapters, some may need to force their way through a sense of confusion.

Despite these issues, Commonwealth has quickly become one of my favorite books of 2016. It isn’t perfect — but in that sense, it’s exactly like family. Its imperfections give it character, make it unique, and endear readers to it. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Tues., Sept. 13. HarperCollins. $27.99. 336pp."
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It takes losing control of a story to remind you why it was kept close to heart. This is one of many lessons to learn from ''Commonwealth'', the latest novel by award-winning author Ann Patchett (''Bel Canto'', ''Truth and Beauty''). Spanning 50 years and two generations, ''Commonwealth'' examines two families bound, split, and stitched back together by coincidences and misfortunes. Though it opens with two divorces, Patchett’s latest offers a powerful message about the enduring bonds between loved ones.

Told through a series of anachronistic vignettes, ''Commonwealth'' opens with the story of how Albert Cousins and Beverly Keating meet through a christening party and a bottle of gin, linking both of their families in the process. What follows is a jaunt across a half-century of family history, as readers explore the ripples caused by Albert and Beverly’s summer kiss. These ripples soon turn become waves, carrying, pushing, and slamming against the six combined children of the Cousins-Keating family — the focus of the novel. When the six are brought together each summer, they function as a unit: arguing and bumping against one another like any group of siblings, but unified and resistant to the drama of their parents.

“[The six] held in common one overarching principle that cast their potential dislike for one another down to the bottom of the minor leagues: they disliked the parents. They hated them.”

From page one, ''Commonwealth'' is entertaining. The novel’s lighter tone meshes well, and as a result it reads like a series of recounted family stories, flitting from moment to moment as small details remind the narrator of related events. And these stories sound as they should — sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious. A bit dramatic and hard to believe at moments, but told so earnestly that you can only accept them as true. It gives ''Commonwealth'' a sense of reality that drives readers to invest themselves in the characters, tugging at their hearts when the novel begins to shine, as the Cousins-Keating children grapple with death, and six become five.

Stories are the fuel that powers Patchett’s narrative, and the surviving children carry the share the story of their sibling’s death, carrying it with them as they split apart in wake of it. The story, kept close to their hearts, becomes a link between them that persists, no matter how distant they become. After decades of being split apart, for example, two of the Cousins-Keating siblings meet in New York by chance, and their shared history allows them to reunite in a chapter that moved me so fiercely that I can recommend Patchett’s novel for it alone.

This bond carries across the anachronism; there is no moment where a Keating-Cousins child cannot reply on another member of their family, even when a close-kept secret becomes all too public, and the siblings’ trust in one another is betrayed. The smallest and greatest crises in the novel are each resolved with the help of family. Dysfunctions be damned, the bonds between the Keating-Cousins children endure, and the presentations of these bonds as timeless and powerful are ''Commonwealth''’s greatest strength.

“’Where were you last night?’ Jeanette would ask, and Albie would think, ''You missed me.''”

The primary flaw of ''Commonwealth'' lies in its anachronistic narrative, however. Though the plot and narrative are excellent, readers may find themselves lost after the first handful of time-skips, as they are barraged with character introductions and the premises of the ‘critical’ time periods. It balances out in the end, once Patchett has linked enough events and periods together, but when combined with the slower pace of the early chapters, some may need to force their way through a sense of confusion.

Despite these issues, ''Commonwealth'' has quickly become one of my favorite books of 2016. It isn’t perfect — but in that sense, it’s exactly like family. Its imperfections give it character, make it unique, and endear readers to it. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

[https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062491794/commonwealth|Commonwealth ]''[https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062491794/commonwealth|by Ann Patchett. Tues., Sept. 13. HarperCollins. $27.99. 336pp.]''"
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  string(4586) "    Ann Patchett's seventh novel splits marriages and builds families.   2016-09-09T17:00:00+00:00 Spilling Commonwealth's family secrets   Blake Flournoy  2016-09-09T17:00:00+00:00  ALL UNDER THE ORANGE TREES: ‘Commonwealth’ begins under the quiet California sun.HarperCollins



It takes losing control of a story to remind you why it was kept close to heart. This is one of many lessons to learn from Commonwealth, the latest novel by award-winning author Ann Patchett (Bel Canto, Truth and Beauty). Spanning 50 years and two generations, Commonwealth examines two families bound, split, and stitched back together by coincidences and misfortunes. Though it opens with two divorces, Patchett’s latest offers a powerful message about the enduring bonds between loved ones.

Told through a series of anachronistic vignettes, Commonwealth opens with the story of how Albert Cousins and Beverly Keating meet through a christening party and a bottle of gin, linking both of their families in the process. What follows is a jaunt across a half-century of family history, as readers explore the ripples caused by Albert and Beverly’s summer kiss. These ripples soon turn become waves, carrying, pushing, and slamming against the six combined children of the Cousins-Keating family — the focus of the novel. When the six are brought together each summer, they function as a unit: arguing and bumping against one another like any group of siblings, but unified and resistant to the drama of their parents.

“The six held in common one overarching principle that cast their potential dislike for one another down to the bottom of the minor leagues: they disliked the parents. They hated them.”

From page one, Commonwealth is entertaining. The novel’s lighter tone meshes well, and as a result it reads like a series of recounted family stories, flitting from moment to moment as small details remind the narrator of related events. And these stories sound as they should — sometimes tragic, sometimes hilarious. A bit dramatic and hard to believe at moments, but told so earnestly that you can only accept them as true. It gives Commonwealth a sense of reality that drives readers to invest themselves in the characters, tugging at their hearts when the novel begins to shine, as the Cousins-Keating children grapple with death, and six become five.

Stories are the fuel that powers Patchett’s narrative, and the surviving children carry the share the story of their sibling’s death, carrying it with them as they split apart in wake of it. The story, kept close to their hearts, becomes a link between them that persists, no matter how distant they become. After decades of being split apart, for example, two of the Cousins-Keating siblings meet in New York by chance, and their shared history allows them to reunite in a chapter that moved me so fiercely that I can recommend Patchett’s novel for it alone.

This bond carries across the anachronism; there is no moment where a Keating-Cousins child cannot reply on another member of their family, even when a close-kept secret becomes all too public, and the siblings’ trust in one another is betrayed. The smallest and greatest crises in the novel are each resolved with the help of family. Dysfunctions be damned, the bonds between the Keating-Cousins children endure, and the presentations of these bonds as timeless and powerful are Commonwealth’s greatest strength.

“’Where were you last night?’ Jeanette would ask, and Albie would think, You missed me.”

The primary flaw of Commonwealth lies in its anachronistic narrative, however. Though the plot and narrative are excellent, readers may find themselves lost after the first handful of time-skips, as they are barraged with character introductions and the premises of the ‘critical’ time periods. It balances out in the end, once Patchett has linked enough events and periods together, but when combined with the slower pace of the early chapters, some may need to force their way through a sense of confusion.

Despite these issues, Commonwealth has quickly become one of my favorite books of 2016. It isn’t perfect — but in that sense, it’s exactly like family. Its imperfections give it character, make it unique, and endear readers to it. I don’t think I’d have it any other way.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett. Tues., Sept. 13. HarperCollins. $27.99. 336pp.             20832340         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/08/commonwealthcover.57c70b73b6016.png                  Spilling Commonwealth's family secrets "
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Friday September 9, 2016 01:00 pm EDT
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