Ann Patchett can do no wrong as a writer, and her latest book The Dutch House is a tour de force in my humble opinion. It's the story of paradise lost that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love, forgiveness, how we want to see ourselves, and who we really are; plus it's suspenseful. (cover blurb)
Indeed, I wanted to read quickly to find out what happens to Danny and Maeve. But I also tried to read it slowly to savor the story, the writing, and the characters. I enjoyed the suburbs of Philly and could feel the chill in the air.
Cyril Conroy bought the Dutch House, completely furnished, as a surprise for his wife. That did not go over well as she leaves him with two young children and heads to India. Danny tells the story as he and his sister Maeve are ultimately exiled by their stepmother from the house where they grew up. Back and forth in time, we learn how Danny wanted to follow his father in real estate but first got his medical degree at Maeve's urging. Education funds were the only life remnant from their father.
cover blurb - Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Danny and Maeve rely deeply on each other, and as they sit outside their former estate they smoke cigarettes and spin memories.
p. 121 (some wonderful writing) There are a few times in life when you leap up and the past that you've been standing on falls away behind you, and the future that 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.
I really liked The Dutch House for its characters, story, and soul searching. It's the choice of my PA book club and I look forward to our 12/4/20 discussion. Why don't you read it over Thanksgiving and join us?