Cyril Conroy turns to real estate investment at the end of World War II and transforms his family’s circumstances from impoverishment to wealth. When he surprises them with a move to the Philadelphia suburbs and the purchase of a great mansion called The Dutch House, it also alters the course of everyone he cares about, and not in a good way. Their stories are told through his son Danny and spans several decades, providing a view of how their futures are shaped by the ensuing events.
Tom Hanks narrates the audio version of the book and felt like the perfect choice for Danny Conroy. The character was fairly dispassionate, a creation of his upbringing as he was shielded from the wreckage of his parents’ marriage and history. He was too young to recall much of it and his sister Maeve protected him beyond adulthood. Hanks’ performance was outstanding in that regard as he personified Danny. But Maeve was the more complex character and we only see her through his eyes. But, that made her all the more enigmatic and tragic as her world seemed to evolve around his.
This is a long saga without a lot of dramatic moments but does have significant, pivotal events that permanently define Danny and Maeve. They sometimes served them well but also stunted their ability to form deep relationships as adults. I enjoyed their journey and was captivated by the story. I didn’t always like Danny but understood him. But it is Maeve who got my admiration and empathy, someone I wanted to know more about but love that she’s left to my imagination. And, The Dutch House was always in the background. It’s an ideal story for book group discussions.
- Release Date: September 24, 2019
- Narrator: Tom Hanks
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 53 minutes
- Publisher: HarperAudio