*The Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller and a 'Book of the Year' 2019*
Selected as Book of the Year in The Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Washington Post, Herald and Good Housekeeping
A heart-wrenching new novel of the unbreakable bond between a brother and sister, their childhood home, and a past that will not let them go – from the Number One New York Times bestselling author of Bel Canto and Commonwealth
"'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."
Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. 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 Andrea home. Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve's lives…
Told with Ann Patchett's inimitable blend of humour, rage and heartbreak, The Dutch House is a book for our times; of family, love, loss, and the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetize and repel us for our whole lives.
Reviews for The Dutch House:
'The book of the autumn … Her finest novel yet' Sunday Times
'A wonderful hypnotic masterpiece of a novel. The best book I've read in years' Rosamund Lupton
'What a spectacular novel. A masterpiece, I'd say' Cathy Rentzenbrink
'Indelibly poignant' Observer
'One of my top favourite contemporary writers. There isn't a book of hers that I haven't put down at the end and been haunted by for weeks after' Gillian Anderson
'The buzz around The Dutch House is totally justified. Her best yet, which is saying something' John Boyne
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Ann Patchett’s extraordinary domestic novel made us laugh a lot and cry nearly as often, offering profound insight into family loyalty. The book follows narrator Danny and his sister, Maeve, over 50 years, starting with their post–World War II childhood in a Philadelphia suburb. After the siblings’ mother runs off and their father brings home a girlfriend, the two find themselves ejected from their family home—and their lives take unexpected twists and turns. Patchett’s writing is on point, combining Grace Paley’s droll observational skills with Shirley Jackson’s ability to dramatically inflate tiny events and Margaret Atwood’s appraisals of social class. There’s suspense around every delft-blue corner of The Dutch House.
A 1920s mansion worms into the lives of the broken family that occupies it in another masterly novel from Patchett (Commonwealth). In 1945, Brooklyn-born real-estate entrepreneur Cyril Conroy purchases the Dutch House in Elkins Park, outside Philadelphia, and presents it, complete with Delft mantels, life-size portraits of the original owners, a ballroom, and staff, to his wife. She hates it. She runs away to serve the poor, abandoning her 10-year-old daughter, Maeve, and three-year-old son, Danny. Five years later, Maeve and Danny meet Conroy's second wife. The second Mrs. Conroy adores the house. When Cyril dies, she keeps it, dispossessing Maeve and Danny of any inheritance except funds for Danny's education, which they use to send Danny to Choate, Columbia, and medical school. Grown-up Danny narrates, remembering his sister as an unswerving friend and protector. For Patchett, family connection comes not from formal ties or ceremonies but from shared moments: Danny accompanying his father to work, Danny's daughter painting her grandmother's fingernails, Maeve and Danny together trying to decode the past. Despite the presence of a grasping stepmother, this is no fairy tale, and Patchett remarkably traces acts of cruelty and kindness through three generations of a family over 50 years. 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.