Ann Patchett, the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, returns with her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go.
“Any novel by Ann Patchett is going to include little sparks of description that catch in the imagination, moments of dialogue so good that you forget later you weren't there, and stories that capture your heart as well as a zeitgeist. In The Dutch House, Patchett creates a narrator standing at the intersection of poverty, dream, privilege, and family, confused by the gap between his sister's memory of hardship and his own experience of wealth - and loss. Tom Hanks narrates this audiobook fully in character, his pacing capturing the main character's moments of realization: the cook had a husband? The strangely designed, luxurious Dutch House had shaped his relationship with his sister far more after they couldn't go back! His mother and his sister shared taste in books? How? His children are curious about things he'd never thought important! ...It's a novel beautifully suited to our cultural moment - a time of economic loss and uncertainty about basically everything except the bonds of love we want to protect - and an audio performance perfect for the novel. Five stars and two thumbs up!”Nialle, The Haunted Bookshop
“'Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?’ I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.”
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.
The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are. Filled with suspense, you may read it quickly to find out what happens, but what happens to Danny and Maeve will stay with you for a very long time.
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