Happier Podcast Book Club discussion

The Dutch House
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Spring 2020: The Dutch House > Fifth Book Choice: The Dutch House

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message 1: by Gretchen (last edited May 19, 2020 03:15PM) (new) - added it

Gretchen Rubin (gretchen_rubin) | 13 comments Mod
Hello book-lovers! Elizabeth and I are thrilled to announce the latest book for our “Happier Podcast Book Club.” It’s The Dutch House, the brilliant, page-turning novel by Ann Patchett. We’ll be talking with her on July 8th, so dive in and send us your questions. (Bonus: I also especially love her memoir TRUTH AND BEAUTY and her novel BEL CANTO.)

Jodee Whitworth  | 1 comments Yay! Good book! I’ll have to think of some questions. Can’t wait for the interview!

Alicia M | 3 comments Excellent choice! I was so looking forward to read it!

Diane | 4 comments Looking forward to reading this book as I discovered this author years ago with Truth & Beauty, one of few books I still have.

Kelly 💜☕️ (kellyrenee1979) | 1 comments Audio is brilliantly narrated by Tom Hanks!!!

Ursula (bronx) | 5 comments Just finished listening to the audiobook, Tom Hanks was brilliant and the book is a masterpiece. One of my favorite books. Really loved everything about it. I am a fan of character-driven novels and The Dutch House really raises the bar when it comes to complex characters. I think the way Ann Patchett combined the characters and the Dutch House was truly only something a master storyteller could do.

Diane | 4 comments Fascinating description relationship between a brother and his sister and the impact of having been abandoned by their mother. Why did the author choose Danny as the narrator? Maeve’s perspective would have been interesting as well. Great read.

Tara  | 1 comments What was the author’s inspiration for the house? Had she seen a similar historical home and decided it could be a setting for a book / story?

Belinda | 7 comments I'm curious if their father ever really did divorce their mother. I realize the book states that it happened but Danny never asked his mother directly so I don't know if the divorce was just a story of lore. I somewhat hoped that was the case, but in the end it didn't matter as Mae got the house anyway and it was returned to its rightful owners.

Krista | 1 comments I just finished the book, a great read and Tom Hanks reads it wonderfully on audio. I also recently read Ann Patchett’s book Commonwealth and there are some similar themes. I’m curious what inspires Patchett to write about families that are broken apart but (much) later find closure or ways to mend despite all odds.

Belinda | 7 comments Ahhh I have another question. I wondered if Maeve was in a secret relationship with her boss as he was always there for her and showed her genuine tenderness. I know this was never expounded upon but it may have been an unwritten and only assumed storyline.

message 12: by Marion (new)

Marion | 1 comments I've wondered about Maeve's cause of death. Was the heart condition worsened by her mother's second choosing of other people over her? Was she just heartbroken another time? It certainly was one thing for their mother to travel and serve other people the first time instead of staying home and raise her children. It seemed to me a totally different thing when she wanted to care for Andrea instead of staying with Maeve. That seemed more like co-dependence, a need to be needed by strangers, instead of seeing to the needs of her own family. Again.

Hazel | 1 comments Loved the book and enjoyed Ann Patchett’s writing! My question is of the many times that both Danny Maeve would visit the Dutch House, they never interacted with and confront Andrea? Not until Elna, their mother showed up later in their lives, did they actually enter the Dutch House and interact with Andrea?

Patricia Makatsaria (patriciamakatsaria) | 1 comments Yes! I had the same question as Belinda regarding Maeve and the boss. I feel like there were so many instances that hinted to something more than just professional respect. And I feel like Maeve would keep something like this to herself - never fully allowing herself a “normal” life and love. Always putting others first...

Kerrie | 1 comments I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading others by this author. I felt pulled into the lives of the characters so easily and thoroughly which is not easily done so thank you for that. What I found myself wondering was about Maeve’s death. For someone so close and influential to Danny, her death seemed to be glossed over. I wanted to grieve with him yet it didn’t seem as though he grieved with the same detail that other events happened in his life. Why was so little written about this part of his life? I also wondered how a husband could know so little about his wife so as to buy an opulent house that was the antithesis of what his wife held in other core. He misjudged her on so many levels and so many times. No wonder she left. Overall, this book got to my core and drew me into the lives of the characters which made this book the page turner that it is. I stayed up late to read and put off other work just to finish this book because it was that good. Thank you for writing this book!

Jennifer F. | 1 comments I agree with Patricia and Belinda about Maeve and her boss. I feel like there were several hints that could lead us to believe they had a relationship. I also feel like, ultimately, Maeve and her mom were opposite sides of the same coin.

Maeve and Danny's mom was inscrutable and kept her loved ones at a literal and figurative distance. She abandoned her loved ones to care for strangers instead of her own children. She came across as a martyr to me when she appeared toward the end of the book.

On the flip side, Maeve took such possessive and passionate care of those she cared about, especially Danny, but also kept them at a distance with regards to her personal life (her health issues, possible relationship) to the point of also sacrificing her own happiness and ending up a martyr, as well.

message 17: by Gretchen (new) - added it

Gretchen Rubin (gretchen_rubin) | 13 comments Mod
Happier Podcast Book Club listeners! I’ve heard from several people who are eagerly awaiting our discussion of THE DUTCH HOUSE with Ann Patchett. Because of a scheduling issue, that discussion was pushed back a bit. It will go live on July 22. So if you need a bit more time to finish the book, you’re in luck.

Amanda (antryon) | 1 comments When will the next book be announced?

Margarida Gonçalves | 1 comments I loved the book. I am curious about the meaning of the house being pristine when they went in in the end of the book. Do we compare the house to the memories that shared, was it another way of saying that it was time to move on? Would love to hear the author’s opinions....

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