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The Dutch House

Narrated by: Tom Hanks
Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
5 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents the audiobook edition of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, read by Tom Hanks.  

An unforgettably powerful new novel of the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood and a past that will not let them go - from the number one New York Times best-selling author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto

'Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?’ I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.

Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings. Then one day their father brings Andrea home. 

Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother’s: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known.  

Told with Ann Patchett’s inimitable blend of humour, rage and heartbreak, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale and story of a paradise lost; of the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetise and repel us for our whole lives.

©2019 Ann Patchett (P)2019 HarperCollins USA

Critic Reviews

"The book of the autumn. The American author of Commonwealth (brilliant) and Bel Canto (even better) releases perhaps her finest novel yet." (Sunday Times)

"The buzz around The Dutch House is totally justified. Her best yet, which is saying something." (John Boyne)

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Great witty narration

I thoroughly enjoyed the intelligence and wit of these siblings. Beautifully written and narrated. Really worth a read

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Story and narration were brilliant

Loved this! Wonderful storyline and each character carefully constructed. A must read, plus who could go past Tom Hanks as narrator. Brilliant

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entrancing

comp,lately captivated by the story. listening to Tom Hanks read made you feel like you were in the story.

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  • Rachel Redford
  • 13-10-2019

Can you forgive her?

As a good novel should, The Dutch House, Anne Patchett's first novel for 3 years, keeps you thinking once it has finished. It could even benefit from a second listening to pick up all the nuanced clues evident from the start, the significance of which is appreciated only towards the end.

The Dutch House itself is in some ways the main character. The massive 1920s villa with its marble Vermeer-like checked floors, vast rooms, Delft decorations and vast rooms is acquired by Cyril Conroy in 1946 when the Dutch owners go bankrupt leaving behind the house, crammed with its treasures. By the end of the novel, generations have grown, and the hosue remains as powerful as ever.

Brimming with pride, Cyril displays the mansion to his new wife, Elna. She hates it, can't bear the willing house servants, the children's nanny, the opulence of it. Apparently saintly and ascetic, she abandons her children, Danny and his adored elder sister Maeve to devote herself to serving the poor in India.The children believe she is dead.

Cyril brings a woman into the household: Andrea, an avaricious young woman who, like Cyril, dislikes children. Cyril marries her, not because he loves her, but because she 'lingered like a virus' and he hadn't the strength to get rid of her. As the subsequent complex sagas of Danny and Maeve unfold in multi-layered realism, the fairy tale elements become more obvious: the wicked stepmother; the forbidding house of mysteries; a lost mother. Other themes are also explored, most importantly the complex contradictory quality of sainthood (why are saints never saints to their families?), and of the possibiloty of restoration and forgiveness.

The ending takes the fairy tale element too far, I think - just too neat and unlikely - the realism suddenly vanishes. But overall this is a satisfyingly deep excursion into the adult life-paths of children blighted by the mis-judgements and errors of others.

The story is told by Danny Conroy and Tom Hanks makes a very good, convincing job of sounding wholly. real.

Recommended.

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  • Adrienne
  • 04-10-2019

Magical

This is a compelling story performed beautifully by Tom Hanks. The characters are believable and the narrator becomes so familiar and engaging that at times it felt like a biography rather than fiction. There are elements of fairytale but it is an absolutely modern and grounded tale of family, siblings, betrayal and redemption. I have enjoyed novels by this author in the past but this is by far the best so far - it felt a delicious treat to put in the earbuds and escape.

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  • holly bird
  • 01-10-2019

Just loved it!

Story just rolls along, utterly glorious writing. Love Ann Patchett and loved the reading by Tom Hanks, just could have let it carry on and on!