The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett
From the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, comes Ann Patchett’s 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.
“Patchett’s prose is confident, unfussy and unadorned.” (The New York Times)
“As always, the author draws us close to her protagonists swiftly and gracefully.” (Wall Street Journal)
“The Dutch House has the richness, allusiveness, and emotional heft of the best fiction.” (Boston Globe)
“Patchett’s splendid novel is a thoughtful, compassionate exploration of obsession and forgiveness, what people acquire, keep, lose or give away, and what they leave behind.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“…this richly furnished novel gives brilliantly clear views into the lives it contains.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Subtle mystery, psychological page-turner, Patchett’s latest is a thriller.” (Washington Post)
“This is an author that specializes in extremely legible yarns.” (New York magazine)
“…you won’t want to put down this engrossing, warmhearted book even after you’ve read the last page.” (NPR)