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Het Diner by Herman Koch
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Het Diner (edition 2009)

by Herman Koch

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2,5782262,321 (3.43)212
Member:cafemoc
Title:Het Diner
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Anthos (2009), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Dinner by Herman Koch

Recently added byPwlLibraryLass, jaaron, Caroline77, grandpahobo, yagoder, JOlson724, tbritny, private library
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» See also 212 mentions

English (178)  Dutch (35)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (226)
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
I admit, I could NOT put this book down! It was dark and intriguing!

The reason I only give it 3/5 starts? I did some research and discovered that the author had in mind "something like Autism" when he described the condition the father and son have that make them do cruel things and not care about anyone else besides themself. I found that offensive. The author said he ended up not naming the condition in the book because he didn't want to have to deal with talking about it. Uh...if you're giving a character a mental illness you should be prepared to talk about it??? So the book was great, not impressed with the author. DEFINITELY a page turner! ( )
  Czarmoriarty | Jan 12, 2015 |
Disturbing, poignant, and well written. Throughly enjoyed. ( )
  Lucifey | Jan 10, 2015 |
Structured over the courses of a dinner in a fine restaurant, this novel charts the fault lines in familial relations and potentially challenges presuppositions about the nature of moral responsibility. Paul and Serge Lohman and their two wives meet for dinner with the object of discussing an issue that has arisen with their two sons, each fifteen. The story is told from Paul’s point of view but, given Paul’s sociopathic tendencies, Paul is a somewhat unreliable narrator. However, it seems clear that the two boys have engaged in several acts of violent abuse of homeless people, up to and including the death of at least one. Although it takes some time for this information to be revealed, the real issue here is what to do about it. All of the adults have discovered the truth. Should they insist that their sons come forward and confess, or should they seek to cover it up?

It looks like we are faced with a moral dilemma. But are we? Is there ever an occasion of murder (and there is no attempt to get around the fact that this was a murder) which can be justified? At least one of the adults has a further concern. Serge is a leading politician who might well become the next Prime Minister of The Netherlands. If he insists that his son confesses, it will be the end of his political career. The stage is set for a potentially interesting dinner discussion. And yet, something just doesn’t work with this scenario.

The problem, for me, is that the characters are paper thin, like they are cardboard figures arranged in a maquette. At times you might suspect that the whole story is an allegory about Dutch imperialism and its consequences. You gain no useful insight into them, not even Paul, who narrates the evening and tells us much more about his own questionable past than we learn about the others. I found myself uninvolved in a curious way. Less like watching a train wreck and more like hearing in passing about a train wreck. In the end the apparent moral dilemma is hardly even motivating.

The writing is stiff, even stilted. So much so, that at first I thought it might have been a problem with the translation from the Dutch. But in the end I concluded that it was rather a problem with the original. So, curious, potentially interesting, but in the end not really. Not recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Jan 8, 2015 |
I gave it a 3.5 stars. It was a good book, sometimes there were parts that I found that was a bit toolong. Some of the characters I didn't really care about, but overall it was a good read. ( )
  dom76 | Jan 7, 2015 |
I had high hopes for this book but in the end I thought it was boring and it wasn't clear what happens in the end.

The story is two Dutch middle age couples go to dinner to discuss their children as they have commited a horrible crime.
The 2 men are brothers 1 is thinking of running for Prime Minister of the Netherlands the other is an ex teacher who has had a bit of a breakdown.
So far so good but I think this book tries to be to clever and I wasn't that bothered about the characters in the end. ( )
  Daftboy1 | Jan 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
If you want to enjoy Herman Koch’s new novel, don’t read a single thing about it. To do so seriously reduces its power. Don’t read the blurbs on its dust jacket — an impressive list of authors that includes Gillian Flynn and S.J. Watson — nor the synopsis on the inside flap. Don’t even read this review. Actually, forget that — come back! It’s spoiler-free, I promise. . . . The Dinner is the kind of book I wish could be translated into English more often.
added by Nickelini | editNational Post, JC Sutcliffe (Feb 15, 2013)
 
The Dinner, a suspense novel by Herman Koch, has sold over a million copies since it was published in Europe in 2009, and it's not difficult to understand the appeal. It's fast-paced and riveting. Written in cool, detached prose (deftly translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett), The Dinner is as theatrical and dramatic as a well-crafted play. It's also nasty. It starts off as social satire but shifts gears, and you find yourself in the middle of a horror story. . . . Mr. Koch delivers his revelations cleverly, by the spoonful. Issues of morality, responsibility and punishment are raised along the way, and a Pinteresque menace lurks under the surface. When savagery takes over, the reader is shocked. But some of Mr. Koch's conclusions are a bit too pat. In the end, the book sits on the digestion less like an over-indulgent "fine dining" experience than Chinese food, which, as we all know, leaves you feeling hungry a couple of hours later.
 
Welsh is intrigued by a novel reminiscent of The Slap and Carnage
added by Nickelini | editthe Guardian, Louise Welsh (Aug 17, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Herman Kochprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garrett, SamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
NICE GUY EDDIE
C'mon, throw in a buck.
MR. PINK
Uh-huh, I don't tip.
NICE GUY EDDIE
Whaddaya mean, you don't tip?
MR PINK
I don't believe in it.

Quentin Tarantino
Reservoir Dogs
Dedication
First words
We were going out to dinner.
Quotations
If I had to give a definition of happiness, it would be this: happiness needs nothing but itself; it doesn't have to be validated.
A fixed appointment for the immediate future is the gates of hell; the actual evening is hell itself.
The stupid woman is the one who thinks she doesn't need any help.
It's like a pistol in a stage play; when someone waves a pistol during the first act, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will be shot with it before the curtain falls. That's the law of drama. The law that says no pistol must appear if no one's going to fire it.
Sometimes things come out of your mouth that you regret later on. Or no, not regret. You say something so razor-sharp that the person you say it to carries it around with them for the rest of their life.
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Haiku summary
Soap opera. Cast:
The Jukes family. (What's the
Dutch for 'OTT'?)

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Meeting at an Amsterdam restaurant for dinner, two couples move from small talk to the wrenching shared challenge of their teenage sons' act of violence that has triggered a police investigation and revealed the extent to which each family will go to protect those they love.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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