The Dutch House by Ann Patchett


What an interesting backdrop for a story -- the Dutch House itself is the largest and most looming character of the novel -- the people that cycle through it merely supporters in a fairy tale-esque dance.  The deeply-rooted theme of mothers and children is the undercurrent of the entire 50-year drama, and how you, as a reader, relate to each character will be very much based on how you feel about mothers.  Secondary to that is forgiveness.  The writer begs the question -- can you truly forgive and leave the past behind you?  A phenomenal book club read!


1.  Consider this line from 
Danny - "We overlay the present onto the past. We look back through the lens of what we know now, so we're not seeing it as the people we were, we're seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered."  Is this true?  Why or why not?

2.  Discuss Andrea.  What kind of a person was she?  What kind of a mother?  Wife?  Did she get what she deserved in the end?

3.  Was Danny's lack of attention to the personal lives of those he claimed to love most a symptom of having grown up as a rich child where people only functioned to serve; or a symptom of a left-behind child who grew up emotionally unavailable to all but his sister? 



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