Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Dinner by Herman Koch

The entirety of Koch's story centers on two couples getting ready for dinner and the dinner itself. Taking place in Amsterdam and narrated by Paul, he makes his dissatisfaction known to the reader for having to meet his politician brother, Serge, and wife, Babette, at this upscale restaurant.

The reason for the dinner, we eventually find out, is for the two couples to discuss a violent act that took place between their teenage children. The parents have very different ideas of how to deal with the issue and in fact, never get around to discussing it, and you will eventually find out why.

The story alternates back and forth in time giving the reader a glimpse into who Paul really is and the events that have lead up to the dinner. My details are intentionally sparse, as I don't want to reveal too much.

Dark and twisted, if you like unreliable narrators and thought-provoking stories, then this book is for you. I guarantee you won't like the characters, but Koch keeps you in suspense and will have you still thinking about The Dinner long after it is over. Highly recommended for book clubs, as there is much to ponder, discuss and dispute.

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