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Zomerhuis met zwembad by Herman Koch
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Zomerhuis met zwembad (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Herman Koch

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6907713,798 (3.45)31
Member:mietclaes
Title:Zomerhuis met zwembad
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Amsterdam Anthos cop. 2011
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:None

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Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch (2011)

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English (57)  Dutch (17)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Have you ever peeled an onion, taking off each of the leaves or whatever they are called, one at a time? That is sort of what this book is like. Everything is slow and deliberate, but there is another layer to peel, and another one after that. Nothing seems to happen, until everything is there and done. I'm not sure how I feel about the book, except I don't care much for the people. What happened to them, and what they did before and after, was rather horrifically bland.
I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review." ( )
  susanbeamon | Mar 5, 2015 |
This is one of those books that, when you finish the last page, you say, "Wow." The emotional pull of the protagonist's journey really is that strong.
I read this as a review copy provided by the publisher (ebook only). I liked it from the first page. Yes, the protagonist is not the most likeable guy in the beginning...but that is a critical element to the plot as it unfolds. And there is enough sarcasm (which I truly enjoy) in what he says and thinks to make the reading enjoyable no matter how much you dislike the guy.
It turns out that his dislike of others creates problems for him as a doctor. It's kind of like that black humor police officers and emergency workers develop because they have to. With a darker twist, yes, and one that is worth reading deeply to understand his view.
The story provides plenty of character development before the tragic event his daughter suffers, all with enough hints at the events to come to keep you moving forward in the narrative. When it finally happens, there is a chaotic reaction on his part and by the people around him. The other characters have also been ramping up the chaos before the event even happens, so when it strikes, the impact is all the more severe.
The true payoff for readers comes when the protagonist responds...in various ways...to the event. He and his wife take one track to help the daughter while the father works on his own in different ways to find justice. In the end, he doesn't truly find justice but he does create his own. The justice he creates makes peace for himself, his family, and others.
This is a well-drawn portrait of a father-daughter relationship. It's a story for today in so many ways. For the reader who understands that not all characters are likeable, Summer House provides a rich payoff. ( )
  Laine-Cunningham | Feb 22, 2015 |
Marc Schlosser is a Dr. He treats celebritys. He says he gives them a generous twenty minutes of his time. But really he isn't listening to them. Ralph Meier is a celebrity he came to see Marc because he needs pills and had heard Marc prescribes things without much fuss. Much later he comes to see Marc about a lump on his thigh. Now months later Ralph isdead and Marc has to appear before the board of medical examiners who will decide whether it was mismanagement or something deliberate. Between the time of first meeting the actor and his death which Judith Ralphs wife is holding him accountable for something happened. The two couples and their children had spent a lovely summer holiday on the mediterranean at Ralphs summer house. How could the couples spending time together lead to an error that cost Ralph his life? Was it deliberate? ( )
  Georgiann | Feb 4, 2015 |
This book reminded me of Koch's previous book "The Dinner." Just about all the characters were unlikable, and the book was steeped in feelings of dread. Because, as the reader, you just know something awful is going to be revealed, and you want to know what it is, but at the same time you don't want to know what it is.

Dr. Marc Schlosser, the narrator of the book, is a general practitioner in the Netherlands with no ethics or sense of duty to his patients. He doesn't care about his patients and doesn't even listen to them when they come in for their appointments. He dispenses drugs willy-nilly and doesn't even feel guilty about it. It's a wonder he hasn't lost his license.

The book begins by giving the reader a glimpse of what has just happened. One of Marc's patients - a famous actor named Ralph Meier - has died while under Marc's care, and the Medical Board is investigating the death. From that point the book rewinds to slowly bring the reader into the story to explain what has led to this point.

There is a twist when the cause of Ralph's death is finally revealed, but by then I hated Marc and Ralph and Ralph's wife Judith and their friends Stanley and Emmanuelle so much that I was hoping they'd all suffer. Just like in "The Dinner," when I hated all the characters so much I didn't care what happened to them in the end.

And maybe that's what kept me from liking the book all that much. It was hard for me to separate hating the characters from hating the book. And, boy, did I hate the characters. Koch is certainly a consistent writer in that he really knows how to create hugely flawed main characters who do awful things, don't feel guilty about it, and expect the reader to sympathize with them. ( )
  niaomiya | Dec 31, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 57 (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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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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