The Dutch House

The Dutch House

A Novel

Book - 2019
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"At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. The story is told by Cyril's son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures. Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they're together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they've lost with humor and rage. But when at last they're forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested."--Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062963673
Characteristics: 337 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

February 16, 2021

In Patchett's luminous novel, an orphaned brother and sister grapple with love, loss and family history after their wicked stepmother banished them from the family home. -NYT

Comment
mko123 Oct 22, 2019

This is the story of a house, at once both magnificent in its splendor and grotesque in its conspicuous wealth. It all depends on what the blended family members experience within its walls. The portrait on the cover is part of the family drama and mystery that is slowly revealed as you experie... Read More »


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krsbozo
Aug 09, 2020

This is a beautifully written book about a family and an odd house, and how the house affects those who live in it. It's a story, I think, mostly about the relationship between a brother and a sister. It wasn't a favorite of mine. The relationship between the siblings was almost too deep to be believed. Felt to me like an unrequited romance between the two. Not what the author intended. The language is beautiful. Ann Patchett is an amazing writer. But this book was outside my zone.

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NMostacada
Jul 28, 2020

For some reason I couldn’t get into this book. I had high hopes for it since it’s been so popular but after the first couple chapters I just found it to be predictable and repetitive. This reads to me as a modern Cinderella story with the evil stepmom and her two daughters taking over the protagonists home with the father being blind to it all. This wasn’t for me.

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bradleyb
Jul 23, 2020

Recommended by Nancy Officer, 7/21/2020

LPL_LeahN Jul 19, 2020

A (probably typical) dysfunctional family chasing the American dream in the 1950s creates a tale of abandonment, pain, grace, and forgiveness that's as old as time but feels fresh in the context of the Conroys. Although narrated by Danny, this is really a story about so many different women. Elna's rectitude, Andrea's cruelty, Maeve's strength. These rich, polarizing characters were in the driver's seat and what a ride it was.

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betsymarzoni
Jul 17, 2020

I found two valuable themes in The Dutch House: the importance of allowing people to be who they wish to be and the freedom that comes with forgiveness. Maeve offered moments of humor and was a fascinating character.

m
mnack_0
Jul 16, 2020

I read this back in Jan or Feb and am now having trouble remembering much of it. My recollection is that it was a well-written character study (aka a soap opera? HA!) and an enjoyable read. I seem to recall that there was a surprising twist at the end which brings it all 'round right - which is always satisfying.

s
szibby
Jun 28, 2020

I really enjoyed this book, especially since I am familiar with this area. Recommended this book to my friends.

b
Bookworm1136
Jun 28, 2020

5 star read. It took me a while to get to this book but I am very glad that I read it. This was a book that grabbed me by the hand in the first chapter and led me along into the lives of the family who lived in the Dutch house throughout all the trials and tribulations, making me feel like I was in the room with them and experiencing everything as it happened. This book was a real treasure. I loved it.

s
StephanieWilliams
Jun 27, 2020

This is not Patchett's best work.
I waited so long to get it from the library that I gave in and bought it.
Wish I had saved my money.

g
ginwin29
Jun 25, 2020

I enjoyed the beginning of this story, but once the siblings reached adulthood much of their story was told to us as they sat and talked in a car parked down the street from their childhood home. I wish we had the opportunity to witness the events as they happened. Still it was beautifully written ... I just didn't feel that engaged with their lives.

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Quotes

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b
behere
Feb 27, 2020

"...the things we could do nothing about were best put out of our minds." p.70

c
cknightkc
Jan 21, 2020

“Habit is a funny thing. You might think you understand it, but you can never exactly see what it looks like when you’re doing it.” - p.255

c
cknightkc
Jan 21, 2020

"Disappointment comes from expectation, and in those days I had no expectation that Andrea would get anything less than what she wanted.” - pp. 58-59

c
cknightkc
Jan 21, 2020

“Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?” I asked my sister…

“I see the past as it actually was, “ Maeve said….

“But we overlay the present onto the past. We look back through the lens of what we know now, so we’re not seeing it as the people we were, we’re seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered.” - p. 45

ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 03, 2019

'Home is so sad...It stays as it was left, shaped to the comfort of the last to go as if to win them back. Instead, bereft of anyone to please, it withers so, having no heart to put aside the theft. And turn again to what it started as, a joyous shot at how things ought to be, long fallen wide. You can see how it was: look at the pictures and the cutlery. The music in the piano stool. That vase.' Larkin

ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 03, 2019

'You think he was sleeping with Fluffy?' I asked her... The news of this affair came to me as most information did: many years after the fact, in a car parked outside the Dutch house with my sister.

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