book review: The Dinner

The Dinner by Herman Klock

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Last night I couldn’t bear to shut my eyes. But after having been home for over a week, I can’t blame the jet lag. I felt compelled to finish Herman Koch’s The Dinner. And now I feel compelled to urge you to read it too.

Basic plot is that two couples meet in a fancy restaurant in Amsterdam to discuss an outrage perpetrated by their sons. While the teenage boys’ antics are pretty shocking, it was the break down of civilized adult behaviour as the meal progresses which chilled me to the core.  Oh and the extent to which parents go to defend their offspring…

Each course of the dinner brings us a new chapter of information.  Spread out onto the table with more than a sprinkling of tension, it’s truly gripping. With a complex brother relationship, a large helping of insincerity and a side of hypocritical attitudes, you’ll feel full of angst as you read on to find out how this meal can possibly end.

The book raises questions of inappropriate social behaviour, family ( as well as non-biological) bonds, our love-hate relationship with politicians and the ultimate revelation that parents are honestly not so different from their children.

It’s a brilliantly constructed novel (I just dashed into a bookshop in LA and bought it when I realised I was out of reading material) and I’d love to hear what you all think… once the meal is over.

The Dinner by Herman Koch



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