April Book Review - 'The Dutch House' by Ann Patchett

Apr 15, 2020

Do you love the delicious satisfaction of reading a book in one sitting? Ann Patchett’s domestic drama The Dutch House may be just what you’re looking for. Summit County Librarian, Kirsten Nilsson has this month’s book review.

Just how well do you remember the house you grew up in? My bedroom had flowered wallpaper on the ceiling, and avocado green countertops in the kitchen, and a wall mounted phone with a really long twisted cord that had been stretched too many times around the corner for some privacy.

Ann Patchett’s latest novel The Dutch House explores the domestic drama that may’ve happened in many of our childhood homes.

The novel tells the story of two siblings—Maeve and Danny—who find themselves disinherited, disconnected and, understandably, bitter adults trying to make sense of their childhoods. It delves deep into complicated family relationships, how hard it is to forgive, and how our past informs our present.

The Dutch House—the sibling’s family home—with its quirky architectural features and enormous scale, looms at the center of the story. It’s the physical embodiment of everything that can go wrong in a family. A happy home or lonely and isolating? A warm refuge from the storm or so cold it drives family away? Yes. The Dutch House, itself, is all of those things.

Infused with fairy tale motifs, this is a Cinderella story gone bad, with Hansel and Gretel at their worst—complete with an evil stepmother, and a disenchanted, distant father all revolving around a suburban fairy tale mansion.

True to Ann Patchett, the writing is seamless and breathtaking. Filled with suspense, you’ll find this novel hard to put down. And you’ll certainly find The Dutch House and its captivating characters hard to forget.

With our current social distancing, you can find Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House as a free downloadable e-book and e-audiobook from both the Summit County and Park City Libraries. This is Kirsten Nielsen with the Summit County Library.