Listen free for 30 days

The Dutch House

Narrated by: Tom Hanks
Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

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

An unforgettably powerful new novel of the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood and a past that will not let them go - from the number one New York Times best-selling author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto

'Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?’ I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.

Danny Conroy grows up in the Dutch House, a lavish mansion. Though his father is distant and his mother is absent, Danny has his beloved sister Maeve: Maeve, with her wall of black hair, her wit, her brilliance. Life is coherent, played out under the watchful eyes of the house’s former owners in the frames of their oil paintings. Then one day their father brings Andrea home. 

Though they cannot know it, her arrival to the Dutch House sows the seed of the defining loss of Danny and Maeve’s lives. The siblings are drawn back time and again to the place they can never enter, knocking in vain on the locked door of the past. For behind the mystery of their own exile is that of their mother’s: an absence more powerful than any presence they have known.  

Told with Ann Patchett’s inimitable blend of humour, rage and heartbreak, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale and story of a paradise lost; of the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetise and repel us for our whole lives.

©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)

More from the same

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    42
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    45
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    38
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

heaven

What could be better than a brilliantly written saga read by Tom Hanks? Perfect read!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

A wonderfully touching story with a compelling narrator. Could not stop listening, would have loved to stay in that world for a while longer.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

truly memorable!!

I honestly cannot remember when I last read a book with which I got so involved. I loved, hated, changed my mind and then cried all the way through. Off now to listen to something else by Ann Patchett. Thanks.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story, writing and performance

A truly wonderful novel that glows with the talent of the author. Warm, sad, wry and brutal - a story like a folk tale but brimming with truth. Tom Hanks gives the best performance I’ve ever heard in an audiobook, bringing a concrete authenticity to the narrating character.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Magical

This is a compelling story performed beautifully by Tom Hanks. The characters are believable and the narrator becomes so familiar and engaging that at times it felt like a biography rather than fiction. There are elements of fairytale but it is an absolutely modern and grounded tale of family, siblings, betrayal and redemption. I have enjoyed novels by this author in the past but this is by far the best so far - it felt a delicious treat to put in the earbuds and escape.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Louise
  • 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 .