The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

The Dutch House by Ann Patchett provokes thought, yes, but its most compelling feature is its allure. I found myself thinking, “When can I continue reading? How can I possibly wait to find the time and quiet to follow this story?”

Although at first I had my doubts that Ann Patchett could realistically pull off the voice of a young male narrator, she did so admirably. 

The Dutch House is a story of a physical paradise lost and found, though in the love and spirit realm the losses seem so great that readers are left to marvel at resilience. This novel makes us begin again to understand that what goes around comes around.

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March 16, 2020

Falling Upward is a transformational book. Period. Full stop.

Our paradigms, after reading this book, are likely to be forever shifted, leaving us to understand through a different lens all that has happened and is happening in this “second half of life.”

A Franciscan monk, Rohr honors all spiritual traditions and offers hope for awakening to the mystery and deep spiritual understanding that can only develop after we attempt to come to terms with losses, failings, regrets, ambitions, and ego mistakes prevalent in the “first half of life.”¬†

This is a book of hope and mercy, of straight-forwardness and authentic communication. Rohr’s scholarship lends credibility to his observations. He draws on the wisdom of cultural stories and myths, biblical and other sacred texts, as well as his own action and experience. ¬†Although it is difficult to choose one passage as an example of the depth of the book, this paragraph exploring our “second halves of life” provides a good preview:

“Poets like Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mary Oliver, David Whyte, Denise Levertov, Naomi Shihab Nye, Rainer Maria Rilke, and T.S. Eliot now name your own inner experience, even if you have never read poetry before. Mystics like Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, Baal Shem Tov, Lady Julian of Norwich, and Rabia will speak to you perhaps more than people from your own tradition–whereas before you did not know, or did not care, what they were talking about. Like Jesus, you may soon feel as though you have “nowhere to lay your head,” while a whole set of new heads are now making sense to you! This is true politically, too. In fact, if your politics do not become more compassionate and inclusive, I doubt whether you are on the second journey.”

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