The Dinner

The Dinner

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) Herman Koch, Translated by Sam Garrett

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  • Publisher: Large Print Press
  • Format: Paperback | 405 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 216mm x 24mm | 380g
  • Publication date: 19 November 2013
  • ISBN 10: 1594137188
  • ISBN 13: 9781594137181
  • Edition: Large type / large print
  • Edition statement: large type edition
  • Sales rank: 575,696

Product description

"A European" Gone Girl."" --"The Wall Street Journal " 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. Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, "The Dinner" promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy. Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content

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Author information

HERMAN KOCH is the author of seven novels and three collections of short stories. "The Dinner," his sixth novel, has been published in 25 countries, and was the winner of the Publieksprijs Prize in 2009. He currently lives in Amsterdam.

Customer reviews

By Marianne Vincent 30 Jun 2014 5

The Dinner is the sixth novel by Dutch actor, television and radio producer, newspaper columnist and author, Herman Koch, and the first book to be translated into English. Two brothers and their wives meet for dinner at an expensive restaurant to discuss the management of the recent, shocking activities of their teenaged sons. Serge Lohman is the charismatic leader of an opposition party poised to take power at the next election, a few months away, making him a strong candidate for the next Prime Minister of the Netherlands. His younger brother, Paul, has little respect for his brother's position and posturing, instead being focussed on the happiness of his own small family. The events of the evening are narrated by Paul and are interspersed with flashbacks to incidents that occurred months or years previously. Koch is a master craftsman when it comes to building his main character: Paul starts out as a reasonable, upstanding citizen, although his antagonism towards his brother is immediately apparent. As the story progresses, a different person begins to be revealed by glimpses, at first fleeting but gradually more sustained, and the reader starts to wonder about Paul's reliability as a narrator. In fact, none of the characters is quite what they first appear to be. Koch uses his novel to comment on Dutch tourists, pretentious restaurants, politics, marriage, parental control and adolescent right to privacy, youth violence and the internet, eugenics, and the instinct to protect one's young. Koch manages to include blackmail, a hereditary disorder, You Tube clips, quite a bit of violence, some hilarious descriptions of restaurant practices, a plot twist that will leave readers gasping and a chilling climax. This compelling, thought-provoking novel is flawlessly translated by Sam Garrett.

Review quote

"A European "Gone Girl.".."The Dinner," a sly psychological thriller that hinges on a horrific crime and its consequences for two families, has become one of spring's most anticipated suspense novels." --"The Wall Street Journal " "[Koch] has created a clever, dark confection... absorbing and highly readable." --"New York Times Book Review" "Tongue-in-cheek page-turner." --"The Washington Post" " " "The best part about "The Dinner" was this tension taking place above the plates. As the meal wore on, I realized I couldn't get up from the table." --"Rosecrans Baldwin, NPR " "Poised to shake up American publishing...Koch tells a story that could very well take away your appetite." --USA Today.com "[A] deliciously Mr. Ripley-esque drama." --"O, The Oprah Magazine" " " "You'll eat it up, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." --"Entertainment Weekly " "Koch's ability to toy with the reader's alliances while using one family's distress to consider greater societal ills gives the novel a vital punch." --"Daily Beast" " ""Every detail...manage[s] to catch our attention when Herman Koch uses them to develop his curious characters and bring us into the dark and thought-provoking plot." --Seattle Post Intelligencer "A tart main course that explores how quickly the facade of civility can crumble. It's hard to digest at times, but with a thought-provoking taste that lingers." --"Cleveland Plain Dealer" " " "The novel has been called the "Gone Girl" of the Continent, and not without cause: Like Gillian Flynn's bestseller, it's a tale told by an unreliable narrator, full of twists and skillfully executed revelations, ultimately registering as a black parable about the deceptively civilized surface of cosmopolitan, middle-class lives...What Koch achieves with his prose--plain but undergirded by breathtaking angles, like a beautiful face scrubbed free of makeup -- is a brilliantly engineered and (for the t