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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett book review


The Dutch House by Ann Patchett book review

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett book review

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett this is a pretty new release. I actually picked this up a couple of weeks ago while I was on vacation because I got super excited that I found a paperback edition cause I was in Europe, and you know sometimes other countries get paperback editions of new releases. Which makes me extremely jealous. 

So yes, as soon as I saw this in the bookstore, I immediately picked it up because I love Ann Patchett but I usually like to pick up her books in paperback. I actually like to pick up all books in paperback if possible. 

But yeah, I'm a big fan of Ann Patchett. I mean not all of her books always work for me but I honestly think she's a really fantastic writer and I'm always willing to give her books a try. 

And something about this book just like really called out to me from like when I first started seeing the cover and people talking about the book before its release. 

It's partially because like this is an amazing cover and maybe that's just what it was. But I don't know, something about this book I just had this feeling that it would be one of the Ann Patchett books that I would end up really enjoying. And spoiler alert, it did because I gave this book a 5 out of 5 stars. 

So in this book you are following mainly this character named Danny. The story is told over the course of a few decades. But it's mainly following Danny and you see everything basically through his point of view. 

So, but you're also following kind of his sister named Maeve. They are children to this man named Cyril who purchased this house outside of Philadelphia called the Dutch house, which is this really liked opulent home that was basically like the talk of the town. 

But then like the Great Depression happened and the people who originally owned the Dutch house had to sell off like pieces of their land. And so the neighborhood moved in closer. But it's still this like really big, really beautiful house that Cyril bought for his wife. 

But his wife didn't really want the Dutch house. Like it was a surprise purchase and it kind of upset her. Eventually Danny and Maeve's mother, Cyril's wife, leaves and Cyril gets remarried and things start to like fall apart in their family. 

And eventually, this isn't really a spoiler because it's given away in the summary and I think it's actually talked about pretty early on in terms of the story, Danny and Maeve are like kicked out of the house. 

And you see what their life turns into once they no longer have the Dutch house as well as like access to their family's wealth or just like basic things even. Not even the fact that they're wealthy, although that does have something to do with it. So yeah, that's like the basic synopsis that I'll give you guys. 

There's a lot that happens in here but talking about it would kind of be missing the point of this book because this isn't really a plot specific book. 

Like there is plot to this book but really you're just following these characters and this family over the course of a few decades, as well as like the other people in their lives including like their nanny and some of their housekeepers and eventual spouses and children of theirs and things like that. 

And it's kind of this analysis by Danny about his life at different periods and what has happened and how those things kind of impact future things. So this is kind of like the epitome of a literary fiction book in the sense of like plot isn't really the point of it. It's really a character study. 

There are a lot of things I really enjoyed about this book but the one thing that I think will be universal for anyone who picks up this book is that the writing in here is beautiful. Like I said it's not a plot driven book. 

So it could be seen as slow-moving but personally I didn't really see it that way. I found it as being like a very deliberate and engrossing book. There is this really great sense of like melancholy that runs through this whole thing, which I'm always very impressed by authors when they can evoke feelings like that. 

I think it's partially because the book jumps around in time and partially because like you're getting the story of these characters and sad things have happened to them and they've lost a number of things including their house and their family. And so that sense of melancholy is kind of evoked through that. 

But just, in general, I think that that melancholy and you know slight nostalgia that happens when you're looking back on your life is really conveyed so strongly that I think that's kind of what I might have loved most about this book. Like I said, I was on vacation. 

I was overseas in London as well as Budapest for a couple of days. And especially in London, like the whole atmosphere was very gloomy. My mood was a little bit down. 

And so I feel like a melancholy book just really spoke to me at that time. This is not necessarily a book that I would flat-out recommend to everyone out there the way that I often do with 5-star books. Earlier this year I read The Collected Schizophrenia and I gave that book a five star and that's a book that I will flat-out recommend to basically anyone who talks to me. 

But this is not necessarily going to be that type of book for me because I don't think that everyone's going to enjoy this book. The characters in here are not likable. That's very like dismissive but I can't think of a better way to talk about it. 

They very much have that like upper-class, waspy attitude to them. Even though they have gotten through hardships and you do see them struggle, there is a little bit of like pretentiousness to everything going on in this book, which again I'm kind of okay with. 

Like think of Gilmore Girls without the humor, that's what I feel like this gives off. Like that especially like with the grandparents in Gilmore Girls in that whole world, that's what a lot of this feels like in terms of vibes because the family is very well off. 

And especially like talking about the Dutch house itself quite a bit and how it is this like really opulent place really evokes those kind of vibes. But I also think that there are a lot of like really interesting and beautiful themes that are explored in this book. 

Things about like the way that you view your family and how that like changes and shifts as you get older. And especially like the way that you view your parents and how that changes and shifts as you get older and potentially become a parent, or even just like as you gain more information or even realize that your own memories might be off for whatever reason. 

There's a lot of discussion in here about like grudges and forgiveness and the way that people seem to repeat mistakes that they've done in the past or repeat mistakes that other people have done around them. 

The way that things done to us in our past influence the choices that we make in the future, things like that. I find all of that really, really interesting and I really enjoyed the way that Ann Patchett explores those different themes through different people. 

Like I said, this book does jump around in time quite a bit. And I will say that one con of this book is the fact that it's kind of hard to gauge those time jumps. Like you know that you've jumped time because a character who was a child in one chapter is now in college or something along those lines. 

But there's no like real clear distinctions about like when anything is happening. But there's also like a bit of a timeless feeling to this book which I think was done on purpose because the ideas and themes covered in here do you have a sense of like timelessness to them. 

But I will say that sometimes it was hard to like keep straight the timeline of these people's lives because again you jump around in time quite a bit and it's hard to like figure out where things fit in regards to other people. 

But at the same time, again, I think that it also kind of works because that's also kind of how memories work. Since a lot of this is about looking back on life, you have like a bunch of memories about your life and you might have like a vague sense of when those things took place. 

But having like a clear timeline of your life is never really going to be possible unless you've literally documented it all, which very few people do. But yeah, I think that just overall this is a really, really beautiful book in really surprising ways. 

And even though in general it feels like it's a very average literary sounding novel, the way that Ann Patchett writes is just fantastic and she explores really, really interesting ideas and thoughts in this book. And just saying it like that feels so like minimal to how this book made me feel. 

But I mean, I did give it five stars. I think that she evokes a lot of really great emotions and ideas in this book. And I definitely recommend it if you are fan of Ann Patchett's or if you are a fan of literary fiction in general. 

So those are my relatively quick thoughts on the Dutch house by Ann Patchett. Let me know down in the comments below if you picked this book up and what you thought of it.

Also read: Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha book 

Also read: All This Could Be Yours by Jami Attenberg book review

Also read: The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins 

Also read: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim book

Also read:  There There by Tommy Orange Book 

Also read: The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa Book 



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