– My name is Ann Patchett. This is “The Dutch House.” I’ve had readers say to me, this book has really helped me to think about the grudges and the angers I have from my own childhood and how I have lugged them through my life. And that sort of both surprised me and pleased me. I was like, oh wow! If there’s some therapeutic quality to this book I hadn’t recognized, that’s really great. Here are the damages of holding onto the hurts of your childhood.
– [Mary Laura] What was the spark that ignited this story for you?
– [Ann] I started to think about the celebration of extreme wealth and the idea that there could be nothing in the world better than being the very, very richest person you could be and thinking, wouldn’t it be interesting to write a novel about someone who was in fact, not interested in being blindingly wealthy? [solemn music]
– What was it like living with Danny and Maeve in your head?
– It’s interesting because I hadn’t written a first person narrator in such a long time and it’s very different to write in first person because once you get the voice that is the voice in your head all the time and it kind of follows you around. It was very easy for me to write from Danny’s perspective because Danny is the picture of entitlement. Everybody likes him but everything is done on his terms. He is held up by a cast of women and he has no idea that he’s held up by a cast of women. And strangely enough I’ve met men like this before in my life. And I was able to draw on that knowledge with no problem whatsoever.
– [Mary Laura] Where does this house’s power come from?
– [Ann] I think for Danny and Maeve it really comes from childhood. And there is something about your childhood home and your childhood perception of life that you think when you’re a kid, this is the way it is and this is the way it’s always going to be and so for them to get knocked out of this very, very grand life and then wind up in a tiny efficiency apartment that’s really crummy, and there’s this certain kind of violence with which they’re banished and so I think that that’s really why the house becomes so important. [eerie music]
– Ann, thanks so much for being here.
– Thank you for having me.
– And thank you for joining us for A Word on Words. I’m Mary Laura Philpott. Keep reading.
– [Ann] The thing is when I write a book it often takes me two or three books to work through all the issues I’m interested in. There’s always something that carries through from one book to another.