The Dutch House is still on the New York Times Best Seller list, and after listening to the audiobook, I can see why. Have you ever had a house that had a personality of its own? The house I presently live in was formerly owned by a NASA engineer, and there are some unusual DIY methods as well as a lovely cookbook holder built into a cabinet. Sometimes I look at my house and think of the scene in Apollo 13 where they had to make an air filter out of a sock. Yeah. The Dutch House is a historic home filled with incredible details left by the first family. You would think most people would love to live in this house, but you’d be wrong.
Tom Hanks narrates the Dutch House and he was perfect for the part. Of course, there were a couple of times when I kept thinking–There’s no crying in baseball–but wow, what a performance.
“‘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.”
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. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.
My Review- 5 Stars
Something about this audiobook had me from the first sentence. This is a story of a family whose life is changed when the father chooses to move them into a historic home called the Dutch House. It is beautifully narrated by Tom Hanks, who has the right voice for Danny and narration style that seamlessly takes us through years with these characters. The story illustrates how knowing one’s family but not really understanding them can lead to pain and mistrust. I highly recommend The Dutch House.