The Dutch House
A NovelDownloadable Audiobook - 2019
Audiobook performed by Tom Hanks.
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
New York Times Bestseller | A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick | A New York Times Book Review Notable Book | TIME Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 | 2020 Audie Finalist – Audiobook of The Year & Best Male Narrator
Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, The Washington Post; O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Refinery29, and Buzzfeed
Ann Patchett, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth, delivers 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. 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.
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.
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From the critics
SummaryAdd a Summary
A new story from a favourite author is always something to look forward to, but when that novel is read for the audio version by the inimitable Tom Hanks, you know you’re in for a treat.
Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House is the story of Danny Conroy and his sister Maeve. The siblings grow up in a large Pennsylvania mansion built after the Second World War by Dutch immigrants. Cyril Conroy, Danny and Maeve’s father, bought the house hoping to make his wife happy, and to showcase his own success. Eerily the house is full of the portraits and possessions off the Dutch family that lived there before them.
Little does Cyril know that his purchase of the house will set off a chain of events that will affect the lives of Danny and Maeve for the next five decades.The children’s mother, Elna, fells uncomfortable in the enormous mansion. For her the decadence of the house represents all that’s wrong with the world. She eventually flees, abandoning her children and husband, and it falls on the no-nonsense Maeve to take care of her little brother. Just as life seems to be getting back to normal their father moves his new wife, Andrea in, with disastrous consequences. The Dutch House is a modern day fairy tale and Andrea is the quintessential evil stepmother duping the children of their home and inheritance.
Patchett has long been revered for her strong character driven stories such as Bel Canto and State of Wonder, and The Dutch House doesn’t disappoint. Hanks, the narrator, embodies the character of Danny as if he’s sitting in his armchair telling you all about his life. His narration adds a richness and depth to Patchett’s already compelling story.
If you’ve read Patchett’s earlier novels you’ll know to expect the very best writing and that you’re going to meet characters who will stay with you long after turning the last page. If this is your first novel by her, I think you’ll finish it looking forward to exploring more of her stories.
QuotesAdd a Quote
...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.
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