The Dutch House | Ann Patchett | A Word on Words | NPT

The Dutch House | Ann Patchett | A Word on Words | NPT


(typewriter keys clacking) (bell dings) (soothing music) – 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. (solemn music) – [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 (Mary Laura laughs)
in my life. And I was able to
draw on that knowledge with no problem whatsoever. (eerie music) – [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. (bell dings) – [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.

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