The Dutch House

The Dutch House

A Novel

Large Print - 2019
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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

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.

Publisher: New York, NY : HarperLuxe, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9780062966469
Characteristics: 466 pages (large print) ; 23 cm
large print


From Library Staff

LPL_LeahN Jul 19, 2020

A (probably typical) dysfunctional family chasing the American dream in the 1950s creates a tale of abandonment, pain, grace, and forgiveness that's as old as time but feels fresh in the context of the Conroys. Although narrated by Danny, this is really a story about so many different women. Elna... Read More »

Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Fiction | A masterful and beautifully rendered allegory of the destructive force of social ambition on several generations of a Pennsylvania family.

From the critics

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JCLHeatherM Mar 20, 2021

A complicated family history is dissected, with the potential for forgiveness and reconciliation, though the path is never easy.

WPL_Erin Mar 16, 2021

This was okay. Just not my cup of tea. Lagged a lot for me and was a bit slow.

Excellent plot and character development. Writing craft is utilitarian. The theme of the lost mother reminds me of Maeve Binchy's Glass Lake.

Feb 13, 2021

Book Club Feb/21.

Feb 09, 2021

I truly enjoyed this audiobook narrated by Tom Hanks. Highly recommend!

Feb 05, 2021

I think the jacket is even more striking than the story. It is a quirky story with interesting characters/relationships.

Jan 24, 2021

A somewhat interesting read in-between something with a more thoughtful plot or non-fiction that interests the reader.. Good research on medical details and architecture. I would say good Summer reading...but not a memorable one.

Jan 22, 2021

Did not care for this book, really no plot an is a boring read!

Jan 19, 2021

Refers to the architecture. Good read.

Jan 18, 2021

I loved this book. Long after I have finished it, I still think of it and the characters. The house itself acts as a character in the book. The house was clearly not a typical house, and to the kids, it was more than just a house: it represented their childhood and what they had lost--not just materially speaking, but the loss of their mother and their father and then finally the house itself where they were all last a family together. The house as the primary setting for the story really sets the mood and tone of the book, as you imagine this large, imposing house that is not warm, and requires a staff to operate, yet is largly empty of love and life. The story was told in a calm and quiet way with a gentle cadence. While it is a sad story for the two siblings, ultimately, what you walk away with is the sense of the love they shared for each other well into their adult lives, which was beautiful. The kids grow to represent home to one another, regardless of any house they are occupying or not occupying. It was a beautifully written book-- I could not put it down.

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Oct 14, 2020

"Do you think it's possible to ever see the past as it actually was?" ...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"

Feb 27, 2020

"...the things we could do nothing about were best put out of our minds." p.70

Jan 21, 2020

“Habit is a funny thing. You might think you understand it, but you can never exactly see what it looks like when you’re doing it.” - p.255

Jan 21, 2020

"Disappointment comes from expectation, and in those days I had no expectation that Andrea would get anything less than what she wanted.” - pp. 58-59

Jan 21, 2020

“Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?” I asked my sister…

“I see the past as it actually was, “ Maeve said….

“But 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.” - p. 45

ArapahoeStaff26 Nov 03, 2019

'Home is so sad...It stays as it was left, shaped to the comfort of the last to go as if to win them back. Instead, bereft of anyone to please, it withers so, having no heart to put aside the theft. And turn again to what it started as, a joyous shot at how things ought to be, long fallen wide. You can see how it was: look at the pictures and the cutlery. The music in the piano stool. That vase.' Larkin

ArapahoeStaff26 Nov 03, 2019

'You think he was sleeping with Fluffy?' I asked her... The news of this affair came to me as most information did: many years after the fact, in a car parked outside the Dutch house with my sister.


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