Book Review : The Dinner

Title : The Dinner The Dinner

Author : Herman Koch

Publisher : Hogarth

Publication Date : February 12th, 2013 (originally published in Dutch in 2009)

Pages : 304

Stand Alone or Series : Stand Alone

Why I Read This book : It was all over the blogosphere and people were calling it the “European Gone Girl” and we all know how much I loved Gone Girl.

Three Words : disturbing, character study, violent

Red Flags : language, violence (this is an adult novel)

Summary (from Goodreads):  An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives — all over the course of one meal.

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.
Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

My Take : So on the surface this book is literally about a dinner. And at first I was bewildered as to how this was going to be like Gone Girl. I mean I like food as much as the next person but I don’t need a 300 page accounting on how you arrived at the restaurant, what you ordered, what everybody was drinking, etc…But much like that book, seemingly trivial details and commonplace occurrences begin to take on sinister overtones. The narrator is completely unreliable and almost unwittingly reveals that he is unreliable through his recounting of past experiences. As you go further and further you realize just how disturbed all of these individuals are! I REALLY enjoyed this book and at the same time disliked it intensely because it made me feel uncomfortable. As a parent I was disturbed immensely by these people and thought about this book for days after finishing it. And honestly, I love that feeling. I love thinking about something I’ve watched or read for days afterwards. There were definitely parts that dragged….especially in the beginning when they were setting up the dinner and ordering the dinner and all of that but in the end I was really excited about this book.

Rating : 9 shoes

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Filed under book review, Koch;Herman, nine shoes, psychological suspense, The Dinner

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