Thursday 15 August 2019

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Patchett is truly a writer who knows and has fine-tuned her craft, which is especially evident within the pages of this powerful tale of family, abandonment, perspectives and above all the individuality of relationships. Not one is the same.

Each relationship we create, foster or even tear asunder is identifiable to ourselves by our own frame of reference, experiences and memories. It is never quite the same for someone else, which is why a group of us can all know a person well and yet experience relationships with that person on a completely different level and way to every other person in said group.

I think that is one of the most poignant parts of the story. It is certainly the aspect that defines the role of the absentee mother. What Danny feels and has experienced isn't what Maeve experienced in regards to their mother, which in turn also applies to Cyril and the rest of the women from the Dutch house.

The house itself, which is integral to the plot, and the emotions which are tethered to said house become singular relationships in their own right. Once again, it takes on a different level of importance for each one of the characters.

Danny and Maeve struggle with the fact their mother just upped and left them, which is compounded tenfold when their father brings home a new stepmother and two stepsisters. A stepmother who is fascinated by the house and wealth her marriage brings with it. A woman who feels as if Danny and Maeve are the enemies.

The siblings have a strong bond necessitated by the indifference and neglect they experience. Neither of them understands the intricacies of their relationship until others intrude upon it. Towards the end Danny finally understands the measure and depth of their relationship and wherein his peace and happiness really lies.

I loved the way Patchett wove and spun this story. It's beautiful and yet simultaneously also incredibly sad at times. It's literary fiction, a beautiful contemporary read about altruistic relationships and family dynamics.

Buy/Pre-order The Dutch House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing; pub date 24 September 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Bloomsbury.


1 comment:

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