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The Dinner by Herman Koch
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The Dinner

by Herman Koch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,3822082,625 (3.44)193
Member:cookiemo
Title:The Dinner
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Text Publishing Co, Edition: English Language ed of Het Diner, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:**1/2
Tags:None

Work details

The Dinner by Herman Koch

  1. 20
    The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both books center on a moral dilemma, both books feature unlikable characters behaving badly.
  2. 31
    Tirza by Arnon Grunberg (JustJoey4)
    JustJoey4: Wat ouderliefde met een mens kan doen...
  3. 10
    The Circle by Dave Eggers (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both of these are novels of ideas.
  4. 10
    Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller (jayne_charles)
  5. 00
    The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester (sturlington)
    sturlington: Similar dark subject matter and unreliable narrator.
  6. 00
    Defending Jacob by William Landay (CarterPJ)
  7. 00
    Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda (hste2011)
  8. 00
    The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (julienne_preacher)
  9. 11
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: A first-person narration over a single long conversation with loads of backstory skillfully woven in.
  10. 01
    We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (INTPLibrarian)
    INTPLibrarian: Disturbed child and parents dealing with it. Both with twists / unexpected parts.
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» See also 193 mentions

English (162)  Dutch (33)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (208)
Showing 1-5 of 162 (next | show all)
Ever read a book that made you queasy to your stomach? This was this book for me. Thing is I couldn't stop reading it. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars just for the fact that I don't think it's going to leave my mind for awhile.

I didn't like not one single character in this book, usually that makes you put a book down doesn't it? Most of the story takes place just over dinner at a resturant. My little foodie heart couldn't miss a story involving that now could I? I think no more of the plot should be revealed just because it will amaze you as you read it. ( )
  bookqueenshelby | Sep 9, 2014 |
A solid, entertaining, funny and gripping psychological study. ( )
  rglossne | Aug 20, 2014 |
So this book is is supposed to be "A European Gone Girl" according to the Wall Street Journal. I don't agree. Yes, these people start to change through the book, but not in the same way. I didn't find the narrative to be as gripping and frankly, I don't see why some of these people weren't thrown in jail years ago for some of the things they had done. Some of the book feels vague to me and other parts are vivd with detail. The premiss of the story was good, but I think it could have been written better. Sometimes I just flat out didn't understand what the narrator was trying to convey. Maybe because it felt disjointed at times because the author would just stop and switch to something else just as things would get interesting and not bring that particular thing back into the story. The book was intriguing enough for me to try another by this author though. ( )
  CinderH | Aug 19, 2014 |
This collection of short stories by Octavia Butler, who was the first black science fiction writer to gain acclaim is a rich and varied collection that start out with what she called her "pregnant man story" where humans are used as "surrogate hosts" to bear alien larvae. The rest of the collection takes us to many other places just as dark and just as haunting. ( )
  jenn_stringer | Aug 16, 2014 |
What a whirlwind novel! The whole story is told from the point of view of Paul, a middle aged man on his way to dinner with his wife, his brother Serge and his sister-in-law. The quartet is meeting at a fancy restaurant and as dinner progresses we learn the reason for the gathering.

Without including any spoilers I can say that the book is dark, but so good. It plays with the ideas of nature vs. nurture and sibling rivalry in a fascinating way. Serge is expected to be the next Prime Minister and his fame attracts additional attention to their table. As Paul’s patience shortens and each new course is served the tension mounts. I loved the details of the book. The interactions with the waiter, the descriptions of the food, all of it added to the pleasure of reading.

It reminded me a bit of We Need to Talk About Kevin in the way that an unreliable narrator is talking about the present day and also flashing back to past action in the story. We learn things in bits and pieces. The reader has no idea if Paul is skewing the story to show his family in a better light. We also don’t fully understand his wife’s position on everything at first.

The relationship between the siblings is both tense and primal. We don’t ever really think our siblings have changed from those individuals we grew up with. We see our siblings in a completely different way than the rest of the world does. We know their secrets and their weaknesses. In some ways we see them more clearly, but we also bring our own immature prejudices to the relationship because we have a shared history when we were both sensitive and vulnerable.

There are books where the characters are not likeable and that ruins it, but I think often that just means the writing isn’t as good as it should be. This novel is full of unlikeable characters but that had no impact on my enjoyment.

BOTTOM LINE: I honestly couldn’t put it down. I read the whole thing in one day. Highly recommended for whenever you’re in the mood for a dark twisty look at family relationships. ( )
  bookworm12 | Jul 31, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 162 (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 the English one.
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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Book description
Haiku summary
Soap opera. Cast:
The Jukes family. (What's the
Dutch for 'OTT'?)

No descriptions found.

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)

» see all 9 descriptions

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