Book review – The Dinner by Herman Koch


This book was sent to me for review by newbooksmag.com on behalf of Atlantic Books.

It is due to be released in the UK in hardback in August.

First published in The Netherlands in 2009 by Ambo Anthos

Genre: Fiction/tragi-comedy

ISBN: 978-1-84887-382-7

This novel is set at a dinner in a posh restaurant and chronicles the conversation as the meal progresses.  This could be quite a boring premise if it were not for the subject of their conversation.

The guests are two brothers and their wives, they skate around the real issue for some time and parts of the back story are filled in through flashbacks and other events, this adds to the suspense.  There are things which are deliberately left unsaid to keep the reader engaged and guessing, the format works really well and is quite unique.

The main reason for the meal is to discuss their two respective 15-year-old sons who have committed a horendous crime, nobody outside their family circle knows that it was them though.

Do they report their children?

Do they defend them?

Do they help to cover up the crime?

What are the far-reaching consequences of the boys’ crime?

What is the hereditary condition that is never mentioned by name?

I really enjoyed this book and read it one sitting, the characters were real and situation would leave any parent in a quandary.  The writing style flows well and the pace is just right.  I would definitely recommend this book.

Personal read 4/5 stars – I really liked it.

Group read 5/5 stars – definitely lots for a reading group to discuss.

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~ by adelesymonds on May 16, 2012.

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