Danny and his sister Maeve grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs. Mother disappeared, Father remarried, and the wicked stepmother threw them out on the streets. Their whole lives, they’ve been telling this story over and over, parked outside on the street, and wondering not just what’s happened to their home, but what’s happened to the people that they were. But while they are both telling family stories, it turns out they might not be telling the same story. There are so many things I love about Ann Patchett’s latest – from the way that she plays with the iconic spinster image, to the way she puts at the center of the story a heroine with diabetes, while not making the story about a heroine with diabetes, to the almost fairy tale like ambience. And then there’s the writing itself – if Ann Patchett wrote repair manuals, we’d all know how to fix our appliances.— Daniel Goldin
Who has not passed by their childhood home and "scrolled through the years,” recalling impressions that bring to mind the universal questions of family identity, complete with its losses, forgiveness, hope, and love? An intimate journey into the heart of the Conroy family, whose dream it is to live the perfect life in a suburban Philadelphia mansion, Dutch House, is shaken when Mrs. Conroy abandons her husband and children, 10-year-old Maeve and 3-year-old Danny. Layering the past with the present over five decades and three generations, readers will come to care for this family, recognizing that the powerful grip that connects them to the Dutch House has the pull to not only divide them but to also unite them. This is Ann Patchett at her brilliantly insightful best. Destined to be my favorite read of 2019!— From Jane's Staff Recommendations
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.
“'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.
About the Author
ANN PATCHETTis the author of seven novels and three works of nonfiction. She is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award, England's Orange Prize, and the Book Sense Book of the Year, and was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She is the co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, Karl, and their dog, Sparky. annpatchett.com.
“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)
“Expect miracles when you read Ann Patchett’s fiction.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Patchett is a master storyteller.”
— O, the Oprah Magazine
“A lavishly gifted writer.”
— Los Angeles Times