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Summary

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize 2020

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

A masterpiece from the Orange Prize-winning, New York Times number one best-selling author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto: a story of love, family, sacrifice and the power of place.

Lose yourself in the story of a lifetime – the unforgettable Sunday Times best seller.

A story of two siblings, their childhood home and a past that they can’t let go.

Like swallows, like salmon, we were the helpless captives of our migratory patterns. We pretended that what we had lost was the house, not our mother, not our father. We pretended that what we had lost had been taken from us by the person who still lived inside.

©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)

"Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature." (Guardian

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What listeners say about The Dutch House

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  • TJ
  • 30-01-20

Underwhelming

I wanted to fall in love with this book but I just didn't. There are some beautiful descriptions in places, and interesting observations, but they are not enough to carry the story. In terms of narration, Tom Hanks does a good job most of the time, yet on occasions his tone of voice and inflection is bizarre and leaves you feeling: did he really mean to say it like that? Surely not. I think one day soon the trend for sprawling and underwhelming fiction will come to an abrupt end. People will realise the Emporer has no clothes on, but that day has not arrived yet! The Dutch House kind of feels like a pastiche of The Goldfinch and A Little Life. I recommend you read it if only for the description of Andrea standing in front of the fireplace, because that is brilliant.

43 people found this helpful

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Masterful and absorbing

Lyrical analysis of the effect the substitution of a mother with a glorious art- museum-like home on a morally brave boy and girl, left to the mercy of their impenetrable father and avaricious step mother. The waves of cause and effect wash over the psyches of the pair throughout their lives affecting every nook and crany of their behaviour, attitudes and family life. Extremely beautiful and loving portrait of their unbreakable sibling bond and the invisible umbilical chord calling them back to the house inexplicably and repeatedly in search of their lost childhood.

27 people found this helpful

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The Dutch House

This is such a beautiful book about life.....its simplicity and its intricacies.
I loved it and it was beautifully read by Tom Hanks

20 people found this helpful

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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!

18 people found this helpful

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Unusual story

I found this story difficult to keep track on. The narration was excellent and that kept me going till the end. The characters annoyed me which didn't help my enjoyment. I would not recommend this book.

17 people found this helpful

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Beautiful Story expert narration

A poignant tale of family dynamics ,loss and recrimination.
I never failed to feel for the children that were Maeve and Danny even when they were adults .
This book held me in its sway completely .
What a joy to have Tom Hanks whispering in your ear at bedtime !

16 people found this helpful

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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.

30 people found this helpful

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Great story, outstanding narrator!

If you're looking for the perfect listen on audible this is it. A family drama following the lives of brother and sister Danny and Mauve, The Dutch House is an interesting tale that'll keep you hooked. The pace of the story is just right, the main characters are likeable and throughout I wanted to know what would happen next for them. I'd definitely recommend The Dutch House as a good read generally, but Tom Hanks is an absolutely outstanding narrator so definitely get the audible copy if you can. I wanted to return and listen again and again, he really does make it for me. It's my favourite book on audible - high praise indeed!

14 people found this helpful

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Fabulous story and performance

Another cracking novel from Ann Patchett. Excellent narration from Tom Hanks, captivating, couldn't get enough of it.

7 people found this helpful

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What a beautiful book!

I didn’t want it to finish, not sure if Tom Hanks narration added to this listen or made it!
Going to miss the characters, loved it!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Louise
  • 20-10-19

Sublime

I can’t recommend this enough- a beautiful story read with such understanding of each character . Tom Hanks takes us into the world of the Conways and I was so sad when it ended . What a treat that was .

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-03-20

Stranger than fate

A masterful piece of writing and superb performance . I so enjoyed the characters caught in another tragic web of family life .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jane F. Clifton
  • 05-02-20

Best read ever

Fabulous book, skillfully read by Tom Hanks. Our ears are in great hands with such an experienced actor.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Needles
  • 29-11-19

Comfortable Angst of The Bourgeoisie

Tom Hanks' reading makes this listen very compelling, and for the first two thirds of the book I was completely drawn in, enjoying the meandering explorations of family dynamics and memories, but by the last third I found myself not caring about any of the characters; it's just all so comfortable, even the tragedies feel comfortable and glossed over, as if nothing is at stake. Not completely satisfying novel,

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-03-21

Brilliant story

Loved hearing Tom Hanks read this book, he sounds like an old friend. The story is so close, so human. Love it

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  • Sanette Smith
  • 23-11-20

Disappointing

After seeing the reviews, I expected a lot, however I struggled to finish. Poor narrator

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  • Ruth Pieterese
  • 21-11-20

Loved it!

From start to finish this book is a masterpiece - a wonderful story which is beautifully read.

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  • Marelise
  • 07-10-20

Would have given 100 stars!

This book is so beautiful in so many ways! The writing is absolutely spellbinding and Tom Hanks as narrator is the perfect fit.

I laughed out loud and wiped a tear or two. Wow wow wow. Wish it never had to end

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-10-20

Nostalgic memories of childhood and growing up .

I loved this story of the beautiful Dutch House. A fairy tale home seen through the eyes of siblings Maeve and Danny. Beautifully read by Tom Hanks,. His tone and expression help to make their story so real.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-08-20

unfulfilling family drama

Not too sure I enjoyed it...family saga with very little action. Tom Hanks is a great narrator..