Ann Patchett’s most powerful novel to date, The Dutch House, is Gramercy’s Book Club pick for January. The novel, a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go, will be facilitated by Kenyon Review Editor and author David Lynn.
Kenyon Review is a Community Partner for this book club discussion.
At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past.