|Like swallows, like salmon, we were the helpless captives of our migratory patterns. We pretended that what we had lost was the house, not our mother, not our father. We pretended that what we had lost had been taken from us by the person who still lived inside.
In the economic boom following the Second World War, Cyril Conroy’s real estate investments take his family from poverty to enormous wealth. With it he buys the Dutch House, a lavish mansion in the Philadelphia suburbs. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
Danny Conroy grows up in the opulence of the Dutch House. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. The siblings grow and change as life plays out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners, in the frames of their oil paintings.
Then one day their father brings home Andrea, a new stepmother. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives: exiled from the house and tossed back into the poverty from which their family rose, Danny and Maeve have only each other to count on.
More here: www.theguardian.com/books/2019/sep/29/dutch-house-ann-patchett-review
“I picked this book up when it came out in 2019, largely because of the intriguing cover – which is a major part of the book. I’ve been wanting to discuss it for years…” Ross (from the Bookshop)
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