Home is where the hurt is

July 24, 2022
The Dutch HouseThe Dutch House by Ann Patchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The danger of listening to a really good book on audible while driving is that I almost ran out of gas. The trip went so fast! Ann Patchett is a great story teller and Tom Hanks did a fantastic job bringing the scenes to life. This story of a fabulous Pennsylvannia house and the people who lived there over about a century is told from the point of view of Danny Conroy whose mother leaves him and his older sister Maeve in the care of their real estate mogul father after he gives her a fantastic 1922 mansion that she despises. She’d rather help the poor and heads to India. An evil step mother soon enters the scene with daughters of her own. Before you know it Dad is dead and Danny and Maeve are kicked out with little more than a trust for Danny’s education. The siblings develop a close bond, spending hours year after year sitting outside their former home and remembering better times. Although the tale generally follows a chronological timeline, it is being told by the grownup Danny hitting his memories so things get out of order sometimes or he jumps ahead and divulges his divorce from Celeste before he’s even revealed their marriage. This bugs me a little but I suppose it adds to the realism of Danny telling the story. The house casts such a huge shadow over all these lives even extending into the next generation. You can see it in your mind and hear the voices and imagine the train rides. Very well done.

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