The Dutch House

Title: The Dutch House

Writer: Ann Patchett

Publishing House:Bloomsbury Publishing

Date of Publication: September 24th 2019

Rating: 5 stars

‘’If you lived in Jenkintown in 1968 or went to school at Choate, chances were good you’d cross paths with most of the people there eventually, even if just to nod and say hello, but New York City was a wild card. Every hour was made up of a series of chances, and choosing to walk down one street instead of another had the potential to change everything: whom you met, what you saw or were spared from seeing.’’

Maeve and Danny are trying to find their way through a series of events that have marked their lives. Their mother disappeared, their father married again (all too quickly) and now they have been thrown out of their home by their stepmother (what an abominable word!). As the decades go by, we witness their strengths and weaknesses, their ability and determination to move on. But can you actually move on when the past is there to haunt you? Can you let sleeping dogs lie when you visit your old home to scratch the old wounds? Most of all, we witness the siblings’ extraordinary bond and affection at a time when everything changes all too rapidly.

‘’The houses on VanHoebeek Street were never entirely dark. People left their porch lights on all night, as if they were always waiting for someone to come home. Gas lights flickered at the end of driveways, a lamp in the front window of a living room stayed on through the night, but even with all these small bursts of illumination there was a stillness about the place that made it clear the inhabitants were all in their beds, even the dogs of Elkins Park were asleep.’’

I swear, Ann Patchett can write some of the most evocative nightly scenes you’ll ever read.

Exquisite. Moving. Poignant. Tender. Reflective. One of the finest novels I’ve read with two protagonists that renew your faith in the power of Literature to create characters that reflect our own hopes and struggles, that help us look into our own souls and face our own doubts. Maeve and Danny (but especially Maeve whom I ADORED!) show that you can allow yourself to be insecure and uncertain because we are humans after all. At the same time, giving up should NOT be an option. This is what Literature is all about and Ann Patchett executes that to perfection.

The Dutch House is an immersive literary triumph.

‘’Do houses ever die of grief?’’