Thursday, August 31, 2023

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

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 unshakable 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.

Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 30, 2020
 by Bloomsbury Publishing
3/5 stars

Part of my Dec 2019 SweetReadsBox, I am finally doing some serious reading off my shelf this year.  I have only read Ann Patchett once before with State of Wonder (I recommend it).

That being said, I did find this read and Tom Lake very conducive for an audio read.

Spanning many years in the life of Danny, it is through his voice that most of this story it told. Danny is a young boy when his mother leaves, it is this event that frames his life and then with the sudden passing of his father yet again, leaves it mark.

Danny and his sister Maeve have a very close relationship, there is a bond that ties them together that only siblings who are abandoned, truly understand.

I did a hybrid read with the majority of my time was through the audio with Tom Hanks being the narrator. One can’t go wrong listening to Tom Hanks. The Dutch House is a thought-provoking story of family. There were some twists that I didn’t anticipate. Very much a telling story of two siblings that might have been a tad too long.

Although this is not one of my favorite Ann Patchett books, it was still an entertaining read.  I did read her most recent release, Tom Lake which I hope to review next week.

This book was part of my 2023 reading off my shelf challenge.

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