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The Dutch House

by Ann Patchett

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,4812662,538 (4.08)311
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 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.… (more)
  1. 21
    The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (shaunie)
    shaunie: The Dutch House is in some ways a slimmed down, more enjoyable Goldfinch.
  2. 07
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman (Sandwich76)
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» See also 311 mentions

English (259)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  German (1)  All languages (262)
Showing 1-5 of 259 (next | show all)
family saga
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
An audio book read by Tom Hanks. He did an excellent job reading as the son who lives & lived in the Dutch House. A story of sadness and forgiveness. KIRKUS REVIEWTheir mother's disappearance cements an unbreakable connection between a pair of poor-little-rich-kid siblings.Like The Children's Crusade by Ann Packer or Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach, this is a deeply pleasurable book about a big house and the family that lives in it. Toward the end of World War II, real estate developer and landlord Cyril Conroy surprises his wife, Elna, with the keys to a mansion in the Elkins Park neighborhood of Philadelphia. Elna, who had no idea how much money her husband had amassed and still thought they were poor, is appalled by the luxurious property, which comes fully furnished and complete with imposing portraits of its former owners (Dutch people named VanHoebeek) as well as a servant girl named Fluffy. When her son, Danny, is 3 and daughter, Maeve, is 10, Elna's antipathy for the place sends her on the lamĄfirst occasionally, then permanently. This leaves the children with the household help and their rigid, chilly father, but the difficulties of the first year pale when a stepmother and stepsisters appear on the scene. Then those problems are completely dwarfed by further misfortune. It's Danny who tells the story, and he's a wonderful narrator, stubborn in his positions, devoted to his sister, and quite clear about various errorsĂ‚ÂĄlike going to medical school when he has no intention of becoming a doctorĂ‚ÂĄwhile utterly committed to them. "We had made a fetish out of our disappointment," he says at one point, "fallen in love with it." Casually stated but astute observations about human nature are Patchett's (Commonwealth, 2016, etc.) stock in trade, and she again proves herself a master of aging an ensemble cast of characters over many decades. In this story, only the house doesn't change. You will close the book half believing you could drive to Elkins Park and see it.Like the many-windowed mansion at its center, this richly furnished novel gives brilliantly clear views into the lives it contains.
  bentstoker | Jan 26, 2024 |
I always like Ann Patchett books and this one had a familiar local touch so I liked it even more -- still this gets a very good 4 and not a 5 star rave review.

It's a simple story about a beautiful house and what it meant to the different people who lived and worked in it and how their lives unfolded...for better or worse. Set mostly in the Philadelphia suburbs where I grew up so it was fun to see all the towns and parishes I knew so well scattered throughout. ( )
  hmonkeyreads | Jan 25, 2024 |
The Dutch House was a look at life through the eyes of the other side. Well the other side for me. A beautiful home. money, need, love out of need and finally out of n.e.e.d. If you know you know. A family and the ties that choke. Why does that mean so much? What is this all really about? This story tells a story of how a family lives life which may be ordinary to you but this book is anything but that. I liked a great deal from reading this book about my own family and my relationship to others in that family. Honestly you may not get the same out of the book but I did not know what I did not know. You will love this read. Great for the summer beach. A love story but of a family and there is a bit of hate, greed, and much more for a bit of tea.
  AngelaYbarra | Jan 23, 2024 |
I listened to audio version. I enjoyed the story and Tom Hanks was a great narrator. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 259 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patchett, Annprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bilardello, RobinCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frappat, HélèneTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanks, TomNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Metsch, FritzDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saterstrom, NoahCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
This book is for Patrick Ryan
First words
The first time our father brought Andrea to the Dutch House, Sandy, our housekeeper, came to my sister's room and told us to come downstairs.
Quotations
There are a few times in life when you leap up and the past that you'd been standing on falls away behind you, and the future you mean to land on is not yet in place, and for a moment you're suspended, knowing nothing and no one, not even yourself.
Sandy and Jocelyn served champagne at the reception, wearing matching black uniforms with white collars and cuffs that Andrea had bought for the occasion. “We look like matrons at a women's penitentiary,” Jocelyn said, holding up her wrists.
The only way to really understand what money means is to have been poor... (p. 19)
But we overlay the present onto the past. We look back trough 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. (pp. 44-45)
The point, I wanted to say, was that we shouldn't still be driving to the Dutch House, and the more we kept up with our hate, the more we were forever doomed to live out our lives in a parked car on VanHoebeek Street. (p. 73)
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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 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.

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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
La mère part en Inde,
La belle-mère les jette dehors
Seule reste la maison
(Tiercelin)

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