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Book Review: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Book Review: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is an American author who has written several acclaimed novels, including “Bel Canto” and “State of Wonder”. She has won numerous literary awards and is a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and the PEN/Faulkner Award. “The Dutch House” is her latest novel.


“The Dutch House” is a family saga that spans over five decades. The novel is narrated by Danny Conroy, a middle-aged man who recounts the story of his family and the Dutch House, a lavish mansion in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Danny’s father, Cyril Conroy, made his fortune in real estate and bought the Dutch House as a symbol of his success. However, Cyril’s sudden death leaves his wife, Elna, and their two children, Danny and Maeve, to fend for themselves. The novel explores the themes of family, loss, and the enduring power of love.


“The Dutch House” is a beautifully written and emotionally resonant novel that captures the complexities of family dynamics. Patchett has a gift for creating fully-realized characters that readers can’t help but become invested in. Danny and Maeve’s relationship is the heart of the novel, and Patchett skillfully portrays the bond between siblings that endures even in the face of adversity.

The Dutch House itself is also a character in the novel, and Patchett’s descriptions of the mansion are evocative and vivid. The house becomes a symbol of the Conroy family’s rise and fall, and its presence lingers throughout the narrative.

One of the most impressive aspects of the novel is Patchett’s ability to capture the passage of time. The novel spans over five decades, and Patchett deftly weaves together different time periods to create a seamless narrative. The novel moves back and forth between the present and the past, and each section adds another layer to the story.

“The Dutch House” is also a meditation on the nature of forgiveness and the power of love. The novel explores the themes of loss and grief in a way that is both poignant and cathartic. Patchett’s prose is elegant and understated, and she allows the emotions of the characters to speak for themselves.

Overall, “The Dutch House” is a beautifully crafted novel that will stay with readers long after they finish it. Patchett has created a memorable cast of characters and a story that is both heartbreaking and uplifting.



Check out her book The Caribbean Family

The family is the genesis of all societies. Every culture has its distinct rules by which a family is governed, and the Caribbean family is no exception. Those rules differ within each group; for the Indians, Chinese, and Africans. Making up most of the population in the Caribbean, African families have spawned several sub-units or types; some of which are unique to the African culture. This book explores each family type and their history within the Caribbean.

Available at all online book retailers and Amazon.com


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