Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Dinner

The Dinner
by Hermann Koch

I found this to be an interesting novel translated from Dutch to English.  The characters could easily have been American as the story felt very relatable in American culture. 

Two couples meet for dinner at an upscale restaurant.  One of the couples is a politician and his wife.  He is running for president or prime minister (don't remember which) of the country. The other couple is the brother to the politician and his wife. The story is told through the voice of the brother.

The couples are meeting to discuss a terrible event their sons were involved in together.  Not immediately disclosed, the background and event are revealed slowly to the reader as the dinner moves along and each person remains unsure what the others know.Ultimately, they must decide what they will do in regard to their sons' actions.

Upon finishing this book my initial reaction was that I hated it.  It was very disturbing and not at all what I was expecting.  The author is very clever at taking you along, introducing you to his characters and making you believe them.  But in the end, is what you thought you believed real and are the people you felt empathy with worthy of it? 

I share a similar response to this book with many whose reviews I read (after the book) on Goodreads.com.  That is that I want to give the book only 2 or 3 shots (stars), but since it keeps staying with me and I keep thinking about it, maybe it deserves more?


  1. No one can forget The Dinner. I coaxed three people into reading it and none of them liked it and hated me for a while.

    1. Hate is a pretty strong word, but I can understand! LOL

      Have you read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle? It wasn't as disturbing but after reading a beautifully written novel with such a horrid ending, I had to hate it too.