Book Beginnings quote:
The first time our father brought Andrea to the Dutch House, Sandy, our housekeeper, came to my sister's room and told us to come downstairs. "Your father has a friend he wants you to meet," she said.Friday 56 quote:
"That's still my job," Sandy said. I hadn't heard Sandy get in a joke in months, if there was in fact anything funny about Maeve moving to the third floor.Summary: When Cyril Conroy buys the Dutch House as a gift for his wife and two children, Maeve and Danny, he is shocked at his wife's reaction. She hates it. The purchase of the house sets in motion an undoing of a family. Danny, the books narrator, and his older sister, Maeve, rely heavily on each other for support after their mother leaves and their step-mother exiles them from the house. The sibling bond is unshakable and it saves both of their lives, yet also seems to thwart them at the same time. Described as a dark fairy tale on the book jacket, the story takes place over five decades and tells the tale of how two smart siblings cannot seem to overcome their past and at the center of the story is the odd but beguiling mansion, the Dutch House.
Review: I listened to audio version of The Dutch House narrated by Tom Hanks. What a rare treat to listen to a book read by a favorite actor. This narration truly brought the story to life. My husband also listened to the book so we got a chance to digest the book together along the way. I hadn't really thought of the story as a fairy tale until I read the description on the book jacket and then I smiled. Of course it is, there is a wicked step-mother and two spoiled step-siblings. There is also a bumbling father and a gorgeous, yet unrealistic setting in the Dutch House.
Two things really made this book special for me. One was the extraordinary relationship between Maeve and Danny. They had no one but each other and that was enough. Throughout the forty plus years of the story line, they had each other and that made all the difference. Few stories in literature have created such a deep bond between siblings. Secondly, the ending. It was perfect and worth a re-read all on its own. And, as an aside, I do love the cover, too, which is part of the story, too.
This is a book club selection for a future meeting. As much as I loved the book I am not sure it will make for a good discussion. I hope we can probe into the concept of forgiveness to get at the depth of the story.