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Ann Patchett’s THE DUTCH HOUSE

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

Ann Patchett’s new novel has been pitched as her masterpiece which I thought was a huge call after her last novel Commonwealth, which was exceptional. But masterpiece is an understatement. Ann Patchett takes her storytelling powers to new heights with The Dutch House. It is simply exquisite; from the opening pages you get that spine-tingling feeling that you are holding something very special in your hands and the novel maintains that feeling until you finish reading the very last page. This book is so good I fear it has ruined fiction for me for the rest of this year.

I was reminded of a lot of Jeffrey Eugenides’ novels as well as Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch when reading this book. It is similarly intoxicating and encompassing. But where Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch sprawled outwards, Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House curls inwards. The book is told by Danny and centres on his life growing up in The Dutch House of the title with his older sister Maeve. Danny’s story jumps forwards and backwards through time as Danny recounts the house they both grew up in, how it came to be the family home and the sacred place it holds in both their lives. 

The bond between these two siblings is the glue of the whole story and both Danny and Maeve entrench themselves deeply in your heart but it is the power of the house that permeates the most as you follow their lives inside and outside of the house. The house draws people towards it like a moth towards a light, while others are forced away from it, banished, sometimes by choice, other times by events outside their control. The house split Danny and Maeve’s parents apart and later sends them both away. But it keeps calling them back throughout their lives to skirt around its edges, unwilling and unable to draw any closer.

This novel is truly exceptional in every sense of the word. A true masterpiece by a writer who somehow keeps getting better and better.

Title: The Dutch House

Author: Ann Patchett

Publisher: Bloomsbury

ISBN: 9781526614957

Format: PaperBack

Category: General Fiction

Publication Date: 24/09/2019

Pages: 336