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The Dutch House

Ann Patchett



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24 September 2019
Series: High/Low
ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- I'm a real fan of Ann Patchett's writing, but this book is going right to the top as my favourite one of hers! As I was reading it, I resented time away from the tale, and when I'd finished it, I wished it had been longer and I didn't have to leave. It's what she does best, a family story told back and forth over a stretch of time, full of believable characters acting as people do, from love and hatred and incomprehension, written in glowing and effortless-seeming prose.
Maeve and Danny Conroy grow up in the Dutch House, a Pennsylvanian mansion their father bought for their mother. Who absolutely hates it, and eventually disappears from her family's life, leaving the children to be brought up by the housekeeper and maid, and a father who has no idea how to interact with them. Maeve is much older than Danny, who goes through his early life in a state of typical boyish self-absorption. He's a good kid who does what he's told, but being caught up in his own concerns doesn't always recognise what is going on around him.

When their father brings home Mrs Smith, who soon becomes Mrs Conroy, Maeve and Danny are in effect exiled from their beloved home. But as years go by, they return regularly, to stare at it from the road and conjecture on what is happening inside… A multi-layered story of love and revenge, of taking the easy way or resisting it, of how locations shape life as much as the people around you, and how the people closest to you can also be the most distant.

Lindy Jones


An unforgettably powerful new novel of the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go - from the Number One New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto 'The book of the autumn. The American author of Commonwealth (brilliant) and Bel Canto (even better) releases perhaps her finest novel yet' - Sunday Times `The buzz around The Dutch House is totally justified. Her best yet, which is saying something' - John Boyne '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. Life is coherent, played 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. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother's: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known.

Told with Ann Patchett's inimitable blend of humour, rage and heartbreak, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale and story of a paradise lost; of the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetize and repel us for our whole lives.

By:   Ann Patchett
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
Weight:   528g
ISBN:   9781526614957
ISBN 10:   1526614952
Series:   High/Low
Pages:   352
Publication Date:   24 September 2019
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Out of Print

Ann Patchett is the author of seven novels and three works of non-fiction. She has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction three times; with The Magician's Assistant in 1998, winning the prize with Bel Canto in 2002, and was most recently shortlisted with State of Wonder in 2012. She is also the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She is the co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, Karl.

Reviews for The Dutch House

A wonderful hypnotic masterpiece of a novel. The best book I've read in years -- Rosamund Lupton A gloriously immersive family saga about lost inheritance * Guardian, Books of the Year * One of my top favourite contemporary writers. I don't think that there's a book of hers that I haven't put down at the end and been haunted by for weeks after * Gillian Anderson * The vicissitudes of life in a step-family unfold over five decades ... A moving portrait of an unusual house and the unhappy family living in it * The Times, Book of the Year * The Dutch House is a novel that assures Patchett, alongside John Irving and Anne Tyler, a place as one of the foremost chroniclers of the burdens of emotional inventory and its central place in American lives -- Catherine Taylor * Financial Times * Indelibly poignant in its long unspooling perspective on family life, The Dutch House brilliantly captures how time undoes all certainties * Observer * An intimate and transporting novel ... The Dutch House is a novel brimming with pain and tenderness in which Patchett's gifts as a storyteller are on full display ... A searching, exquisitely wrenching novel about family, sacrifice and obsession * Sunday Times * One of the most celebrated novelists of our times ... But it is her new book, widely billed a one of this autumn's best new reads, where she truly comes into her own * Sunday Times Magazine * A family story full of love and pain and insight * Herald, Books of the Year * Impeccably fine ... A thoughtful, quietly profound book * i paper * The Dutch House offers ... A simultaneous awareness of human fragility and human resilience * Daily Telegraph * As always, Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life, rather than literature * Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year * She uses her signature blend of wry humour, rage and regret in a tale of siblings who cannot escape the shadow of their childhood home * i * Masterly * The Times * An outstanding novel, wryly funny, heart-breakingly sad and entirely engrossing -- Eithne Farry * S Magazine * We're calling it now: The Dutch House will be the book of the autumn ... Her finest novel yet * Sunday Times * Few novelists today combine such a forensic eye with an acute and humane understanding of human nature. I would read Ann Patchett's shopping list -- Jojo Moyes Patchett is a master at pacing and detail ... The question of what makes a home pervades this gripping book -- Erica Wagner * New Statesman * She rivals Tyler for emotional acuity -- Anthony Cummins * Metro * Ann Patchett writes novels that quietly and thoroughly devastate the reader - in a good way. Her new novel is no exception * Red * Patchett well deserves her reputation for compelling novels, and The Dutch House is her most enthralling yet * Vogue * What a spectacular novel. A masterpiece, I'd say -- Cathy Rentzenbrink Wise and funny and unwraps the complexities of human beings with heartbreaking tenderness. I love this book -- Renee Knight Bliss -- Nigella Lawson The buzz around The Dutch House is totally justified. Her best yet, which is saying something -- John Boyne If there's a better, more poignant or involving novel than The Dutch House published this year, I will be very, very surprised * Andrew Holgate * A dark modern fairy tale, a delicately woven portrait of a family in flux * Evening Standard * The plot is gentle but firm while Patchett's prose dazzles with detail and nuance, spinning a story that tucks itself inside your heart * i paper * Wonderfully astute ... Patchett's books ... have a sly comic undertow -- Craig Brown * Mail on Sunday * A marvellously romantic and evocative novel about the nostalgic pull of a lost home ... Beautifully written and often tender ... That rare thing: a novel which reveals greater riches on a second reading -- Cressida Connolly * Spectator * Beautifully imagined ... Patchett has excelled herself to produce one of the most moving and engaging novels this year * Daily Express *

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