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


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

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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Sep 24, 2020

For me this book was primarily about abandonment. Also loyalty, pain and forgiveness within a family. It is not predictable especially after Mom shows up near the end. It is written dispassionately. but I understood the narrators feelings having lived through a step mother and invading family in our house myself.
I had to read right to the end, as though the narrator might reveals insights into the mysteries of familial relationships.

Sep 21, 2020

I had a little trouble getting into the book (I listened to this one in the car.) But once I did, I was hooked. Tom Hanks narrates the book very well. It is written from the perspective of the son of a family that buys this fancy house in Pennsylvania. They are not people of means but it was a great deal. Unfortunately, the house is sort of the end of the family as the wife can't be in the house and leaves her family to go and do service work. It is a tragic story in a lot of ways but not overly so.

Sep 03, 2020

axis 360

Sep 01, 2020

This is my favourite Ann Patchett book yet. Loved the characters, the history, and the storyline. I could just "feel" those grand portraits staring at me from the walls. Great read!

Aug 30, 2020

As this novel begins, a boy and his older sister are being raised by a single father with the help of two servants in a luxurious home. The house is the center of the novel and much of the characters motivations are affected by either a love or a loathing of living there. At the beginning I was draw into the story but by the end I found many things to be insufficiently explained and explored and often completely implausible.

Aug 28, 2020

This book started out slowly, but I thought, well, with all the great reviews and awards, the pace is going to pick up, something interesting is going to happen, the plot will thicken, the characters will start to do interesting things. I kept up this generous thinking for the first quarter of the book, but by the halfway mark, I began to seriously doubt. The thing is, Ann Patchett is a technically strong writer; she can write dialogue and can put together a long storyline with interconnected characters flashing backward and forward through time, but said characters are so flat, unidimensional, and boring I felt my time would have been better spent kicking a rock down the road than following their tedious, uninteresting lives. It was hard to form any emotional connection to the characters - they all felt like they'd been done before, in other places, better. By the 3/4 mark through the book I just figured I might as well finish the darn thing just to say I'd given it every chance to get better. But even towards the end, where the mom who abandoned her children returns to said children, what could have been an emotional redemption point was so flat and washed out in grey, all I could summarize was a meh. A meh for the whole darn novel. A really boring, agonizingly long read with no redeeming anything. I couldn't get excited about the characters, their lives, or their travails. Spend your time elsewhere. I'm amazed I finished (only due to coronoa boredom) and I'll be kicking myself for spending so much time on this novel for awhile.

AndreaG_KCMO Aug 28, 2020

"The story of my sister was the only one I was ever meant to tell..." Danny Conroy narrates a history of his extraordinary house in an ordinary Philadelphia suburb, a house first owned by wealthy Dutch immigrants, purchased by Danny's industrious father, barred after his death, and somehow part of Danny's life once again in middle age. Of course the story is not really of the house, but of the ebb and flow of its occupants, Danny's remarkable older sister in particular.

I love a book that I can look back on as though I'd read a number of stories, not just one, and The Dutch House delivers that full, weighty feeling after a good meal.

Aug 26, 2020

Such a beautiful story!

Aug 18, 2020

This is a good story: not predictable. The house "The Dutch House" is the central unifying character/object for those who live there. Some hate the house; some love it; some are in awe of it. For Danny, the narrator, and his sister Maeve, the central characters, this house was their home while growing up. The house was a gift from their father to their mother; their mother hates this house with its many windows and 3 floors. Their step-mother adores the house. We watch Danny and Maeve grow up, always there for one another. . . and we see how they are drawn to The Dutch House even when old after they were kicked out by their stepmother after their father had died many years earlier.

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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Feb 27, 2020

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

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

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

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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