The Dutch House

by Ann Patchett.

The Dutch House is never a home. Those who live in it are unsettled. Danny is the narrator who tells the story of its inhabitants. He is the least formed character. The brother of Maeve, son of Elna & Cyril, husband of Celeste, father of May and Kevin, step-son of Andrea and step-brother of her daughters. An uncurious boy and man who seems to sleep-walk through a traumatic life. Even when he finds himself it is as his father’s son, his sister’s keeper, his daughter’s admirer. His wife is peripheral. A strange fatalistic story with little redemption. Forgiveness without reason. It left me angry that this central male protagonist was portrayed as such a two-dimensional passive person. Why did the author decide to make him her voice yet portray him as so soul-less.

There seemed to be an attempt at a feminist message. Veiled preachy and insulting at best.

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