Andrea is marked out as morally deficient during her very first visit to the Dutch House, when she singles out the portraits of the Van Hoebeeks to Cyril for praise: “‘It must be a comfort, having them with you,’ Andrea said to him, not of his children but of his paintings.’” Like a Jamesian villain, she prefers art to life. • Elizabeth Lowry’s Dark Water is published by Riverrun. Terrorised children? Read 22,555 reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Patchett's previous novel, Commonwealth (2016), was her most autobiographical, and it also involved blended families and children left too much to their own devices. Maeve insists she does just that. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, her most recent novel, was released on September 24. Cyril is revealed as weak and neglectful, a man who never really liked children, even his own. Art is not for everyone. As the layers of the past are rolled away, the shocks keep coming. Having carried out his sister’s revenge against their stepmother by qualifying as a doctor, he refuses to practise medicine. The windows both took in the sun and reflected it back against the wide lawn.”. Check. The Dutch House goes unabashedly sentimental, but chances are, you won't want to put down this engrossing, warmhearted book even after you've read the last page. "The problem, I wanted to say, was that I was asleep to the world. Home is the eponymous Dutch House, a 1922 mansion outside Philadelphia that their father, Cyril, a real estate mogul, bought fully furnished in an estate sale as a surprise for his wife in 1946, when Maeve was 5. If The Dutch House is like a novel by James, however, then it’s most like The Spoils of Poynton, cleverly appropriating that book’s use of a coveted house and its treasures as an index to human character. Andrea, a pretty young widow 18 years Cyril's junior, falls in love with his house and then finagles her way into it with her two small daughters. It begins in the late 1940s, when Cyril Conroy surprises his wife, Elna, with a glass mansion in the posh Philadelphia neighborhood of Elkins Park. The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, review: plenty to enjoy, but little satisfaction to be found 3. Review: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett May 15, 2020 October 28, 2020 E.F. Sunland I’ve listened to Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House twice and hate the ending as much as I love the beginning, which makes it hard to evaluate. Their father, in the way of 1940s fathers and fairytale kings, is too busy ruling his empire to oversee their care. "We look back through the lens of what we know now, so we're not seeing it as the people we were, we're seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered.". Like art, healing is not for everyone. But eventually Danny comes to realize how much he's missed along the way, including the fact that the Conroys' two loyal housekeepers are sisters. I thought Bel Canto was a lovely book, and State of Wonder was just okay, but still well written. After she flees, ostensibly to India to devote herself to the poor, her family suffers, as if "they had all become characters in the worst part of a fairy tale," Patchett writes. Free … And if Maeve is a substitute mother then she’s in some ways as compromised a figure as Elna and Andrea, demanding her own relentless form of sacrifice in the guise of Danny’s medical studies. How? “Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?” asks Danny, now in college, where Maeve forces him to endure years of expensive medical training simply to drain the educational fund that would otherwise devolve to Andrea’s daughters. ‘Like a piece of art, the Dutch House ignites extreme reactions in the people who come into contact with it.’ Ropsley House in Philadelphia, built in 1916. I’ve read a few books from Patchett in the past and really enjoy her writing.
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