Ann Patchett writes impossibly smooth sentences with precisely found words. And together they describe a story so full of detail— it’s almost as if it must have happened, as if Patchett must have been there herself. How else could she possibly write this? The house is a character as much as the people are. And like her book Commonwealth, The Dutch House is about a family broken, and the children getting closer to each other as a result. Another parallel to Commonwealth is its loaded gun — diabetes instead of bee allergy. The story is a tad slow, but the pages are full about human relationships, as good and bad and easy and difficult as they come.