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Zomerhuis met zwembad by Herman Koch

Zomerhuis met zwembad (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Herman Koch

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6567214,665 (3.44)31
Title:Zomerhuis met zwembad
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Amsterdam Anthos cop. 2011
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned

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Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch (2011)


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English (53)  Dutch (16)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Herman Koch has a unique ability for taking something that seems so normal and turning it into something much darker. If you’ve read his amazing novel The Dinner then you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about; that book sets up a style that I was hoping continued for this Dutch author. Luckily I wasn’t disappointed; Koch’s second novel to be translated into English is Summer House with Swimming Pool. The novel tells the story of Dr Marc Schlosser who is forced to conceal a medical mistake that costs Ralph Meier, a famous actor, his life. The only problem with that is the truth doesn’t stay hidden for too long.

Fear not, much like The Dinner, Summer House with Swimming Pool is much more complex than it appears on the surface. Herman Koch likes to take a dark and graphic look at the world and raise the questions of morality, this is something seems to pull off effortlessly, but I will try to avoid giving spoilers. We spend most of the book following around the general practitioner who seems like an unsympathetic character and rather unlikeable. Koch likes to play with the idea that everything is not as it seems and this novel does this really well.

I can’t remember if I went into The Dinner with the same expectations as I did for Summer House with Swimming Pool but I suspect I might have had a similar reading experience. It is hard to review a novel like this because you want to talk about it but there is a voice in the back of your mind telling you not to spoil it for everyone else.

One thing that I find interesting with Koch’s novels is the number of characters and scenery. I thought this about The Dinner as well, these novels are perfect for a small stage production; they have just the right blend of dark satirical plot and moral questions to make for a thrilling stage play. I wonder if these books have been converted to the stage, I would love to see a production of The Dinner.

I’m rather annoyed with this review, there is so much I want to say but everything will say too much. You will all have to read this book so we can discuss it. Herman Koch’s books are perfect choices for a book club; there is just so much to discuss. I wonder if I can convince my local book club to do this book as well; they normally don’t like to do the same author too many times but Koch is too good to resist.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2014/05/16/summer-house-with-swimming-pool-by-he... ( )
  knowledge_lost | Dec 7, 2014 |
Also ich kann nur hoffen, dass mein Hausarzt mit der Hauptfigur dieser Geschichte so gut wie nichts gemeinsam hat. Ansonsten hätte ich schon ein merkwürdiges Gefühl...
Hauptfigur ist Marc Schlosser, ein Hausarzt dessen PatientInnenkreis sich überwiegend aus Menschen mit sogenannten kreativen Berufen zusammensetzt: SchriftstellerInnen, MalerInnen, SchauspielerInnen undundund. Denn es ist bekannt, dass der Arzt sich der Verschreibung bestimmter aktivierender Medikamente gegenüber aufgeschlossen zeigt, deren Unterstützung gerade in schöpferischen Kreisen gerne willkommen geheissen wird. So findet auch der berühmte Schauspieler Ralph Meier seinen Weg in Marcs Praxis und schon nach kurzer Zeit sind die Familien der Beiden miteinander bekannt. Und wie der 'Zufall' es so will, verbringen sie gemeinsam einen Teil ihrer Ferien in einem Sommerhaus mit Swimmingpool. Doch Ralph hat so seine dunklen Seiten, die sich nicht zuletzt auch auf Marcs Familienleben auswirken...
Eigentlich ist die Sache von Beginn an klar: Dort der gute Hausarzt, da die chaotische, komplizierte und heuchlerische Künstlerschar - keine Frage, wem die Sympathien gehören. Doch das Bild wandelt sich und immer öfter stellt man sich die Frage, wer hier eigentlich wem etwas vormacht. Selbst als man sich sicher zu sein scheint wer wohin gehört, muss man feststellen, wieder völlig daneben gelegen zu haben.
Wie der Autor so gut wie jeden Mitwirkenden fast bis auf die Haut entlarvt und bloßstellt, ließ mich häufig erst laut lachen, das dann aber immer wieder in betroffenem Schlucken unterging. Denn es ist böseböseböse - aber gut ;-) Es ist eine toll erzählte Geschichte, die wirklich genial mit den Erwartungen der Zuhörenden spielt - ok, auf jeden Fall mit meinen. Und dazu noch kongenial vorgetragen von Johannes Steck, dem es richtig gut gelingt, den einzelnen Personen eine charakteristische Tonlage zu verleihen. Insbesondere Ralph fand ich äusserst überzeugend verkörpert. ( )
  Xirxe | Dec 2, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The narrator and protagonist of this interesting novel is Dr. Marc Schlosser. Koch has created a complex but intriguing personality in Marc. He is a competent clinician but completely bored with his practice and patients. He has been faking a caring attitude toward his patients for years but, before the novel ends, he even loses interest in that con to the detriment of his practice. He finds his patients’ bodies distasteful, commenting extensively on their flaws. He treats most of his examinations like Kabuki Theater. Despite this, he is clearly proud of his place in society—the first sentence in the book is: “I am a doctor.” Indeed, we are repeatedly reminded of that fact in his narrative. His view is hierarchical with general practitioners above patients but below medical specialists, whom he loathes. Eventually, Marc crosses a line when he ignores the first tenet of the Hippocratic Oath—“First do no harm”—by participating in the death of one of his patients after an unfortunate incident involving his teenage daughter. He determines guilt on the slimmest of evidence, but feels justified in this and is even validated by a former professor, who introduced him to a view of human relations that rejects all but the most basic biological needs. Koch treats Marc’s actions ironically, even leaving us wondering if Marc actually got the right man. Of course, Marc’s narcissistic personality does not permit him to recognize this or feel any remorse or doubt. Moreover, he suffers few consequences, except possibly moving to Los Angeles.

Most of the characters in the novel are distasteful primarily because of their self-absorption and superficiality. Many readers might find that spending time with this group of people too much to bear and abandon the book. However, Koch manages a compelling read through his meditation on the theme of sexual attraction and the limits of how one should act on this normal biological attribute. ( )
  ozzer | Nov 30, 2014 |
Summer House With Swimming Pool by Herman Koch 4/5

My husband brought up an interesting point while we were reading the last Koch book, The Dinner. Because as readers we must suspend disbelief, is it sometimes necessary, or even part of the process to suspend moral judgment? Or perhaps call it moral opinion. Judgment is so.....judgmental. :) Each reader must decide this for themselves. I, personally, find it difficult to withhold, at the least, a strong opinion of the characters, and either approve or disapprove of their actions or some gray area in-between..

This is the second of Koch's books we've read, and he seems to follow a loose pattern of behavior for his characters in both books. Amorality is certainly the first and foremost of the main protagonist's attributes. In this novel, it pertains to a doctor. A person that has taken the Hippocratic Oath, (I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone.). But what happens when the doctor thinks there may be a powerful incentive to harm a patient. Motive, opportunity and the knowledge combine after a terrible act has taken place. As in Koch's previous book a parents love for and desire to protect and/or revenge a child is a strong motivation.

But wait! The twist is coming, and it's a doozy. Do we ever know our children?

Recommended. ( )
  booknest | Nov 28, 2014 |
I listened to the audio and never got beyond my first impression -- "I do not like or trust this fellow telling the story." Really not worth the listening experience. I did not like ANY of the characters---just a completely odd bunch. Yes, it made for a very different novel, unfortunately. ( )
  nyiper | Nov 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 53 (next | show all)
Failing the plausibility test is a black eye in commercial fiction. So is letting the pace become so slack that we don’t care who will eventually be revealed as the rapist. A good psychological thriller ought to end with a crisp, clean twist. This ending is mashed potatoes. Herman Koch does have a knack for generating narrative thrust, which “Summer House With Swimming Pool” manifests for its first two-thirds. Nevertheless, given how well his previous novel performed, this follow-up is inexplicably careless.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Lionel Shriver (Jul 11, 2014)

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Kuby, ChristianeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It all started the previous summer. Marc, his wife, and their two beautiful teenage daughters agreed to spend a week at the Meier's extravagant summer home on the Mediterranean. Joined by Ralph and his striking wife Judith, her mother, and film director Stanley Forbes and his much younger girlfriend, the large group settles in for days of sunshine, wine tasting, and trips to the beach. But when a violent incident disrupts the idyll, darker motivations are revealed, and suddenly no one can be trusted. As the ultimate holiday soon turns into a nightmare, the circumstances surrounding Ralph's later death begin to reveal the disturbing reality behind that summer's tragedy.… (more)

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