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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review: The Dinner by Herman Koch

Title: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Hogarth
Publish Date: 2009 (Paperback released November 5, 2013)
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You like interesting characters.
  • You like surprises.
What's the Story?:

From "A summer's evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. 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 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, and as civility and friendship disintegrates, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love."

My Two Cents:

 "The Dinner" is a book that I have been waiting to read for a long time and I have to say, I was totally not disappointed with this one. This is a book that is going to stick with you for a very long time after you finish reading it. This book is an exploration of what it means to protect your family and where that line is between protecting and coddling. It is a story of family and choices.

The beauty of this book is that the author only gives you the tiniest bit of detail at a time. At times, it is frustrating and does make for a slow beginning of the book but only because you want to know more about the story right away. All I can say is to hang in there because the end is definitely worth it. You will be happy to follow this book through to the end. Because you are getting small details, it is up to you to begin to put together the pieces of what is happening in the story.

The characters in this book are fascinating. Koch lets us explore their psyches and what makes them tick, which might be one of the most interesting parts of the book. They are not likeable and they are flawed in one way or another. You will get drawn into reading about them!

I could see this book being a really good pick for a book club. There is so much to talk about with regard to why the characters do what they do and whether or not it is warranted.


  1. Its a pretty good book that evokes a lot of emotions. I found the parents just sickening the way the were able to sweep everything under the carpet!

    1. Agreed! I could not believe that the parents didn't seem to acknowledge how terrible the kids were. Crazy!

  2. I loved this book and needed to talk about it as soon as I was done. Great book club pick.

    1. Yes! There is so much to talk about with this one. I'm making a couple of my friends read it next so we can discuss!

  3. Sounds like a very interesting read! I love when novels center around a single incident. Does the entire book take place over the course of one dinner?

    1. Yes, the book takes place over one dinner, which really makes it a little more interesting!

  4. I think I'd have to be in the right frame of mind to read this but it sounds worthwhile. Great review!

    1. This is definitely one of those books that you need to be in the right mood for but when you're looking for something a little more serious that will make you think a lot, this is a great pick!

  5. I really liked, this book, too, if "liked" is the correct word for something this shocking.


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