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Het diner by Herman Koch

Het diner (edition 2009)

by Herman Koch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3762801,610 (3.42)284
Title:Het diner
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Amsterdam Anthos cop. 2009
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Dinner by Herman Koch

  1. 30
    Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller (jayne_charles)
  2. 30
    The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (Nickelini)
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  3. 31
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  4. 31
    We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (INTPLibrarian)
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  5. 10
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    sturlington: Similar dark subject matter and unreliable narrator.
  6. 21
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    akblanchard: Both of these are novels of ideas.
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  8. 00
    Munich Airport by Greg Baxter (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Shares a sense of rising unease and the same style of narration, from close within the narrator's head.
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» See also 284 mentions

English (230)  Dutch (35)  Spanish (5)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All (280)
Showing 1-5 of 230 (next | show all)
I liked the sound of the movie in a review I read so I took a chance on the book. Yes, it's set around a dinner - a fancy, nouvelle cuisine affair, and with the main protagonist's (Paul) high profile politician brother and his glamorous wife. Paul and his wife Claire would much rather eat a less pretentious place but what his bro commands ...

The book is divided into the 4 courses and I loved his sardonic wit and comments about the food and the maitre d'. It was so good I though surely it was written in English but no, it's translated Dutch. Superbly. Fairly soon into the book, there are undertones outside of the actual dinner which become reflective on Paul and some of his issues, his son (I won't elaborate), and an increasingly darker topic.

Without giving away too much it evolves into a very dark situation and a nasty resolution of it. I've read reviews that comment on how evil Paul is and praise his wife Claire. IMHO Paul is nasty but flawed and his wife manipulative and very much the evil one. Really, all the characters are severely flawed except for his brother's wife who is just a victim and otherwise pathetic.

A superb read and an easy and quick one too. ( )
  martinhughharvey | May 18, 2017 |
Really did not like this book. I had to make myself finish it. I never connected or felt for the characters in the story. There was nothing to root for. ( )
  CorTim2 | Apr 4, 2017 |
Intriguing, this book was a page turner! Could not put it down. ( )
  TBoerner | Mar 22, 2017 |
Author Koch has received much acclaim in literary circles, and I can understand why. He writes really well. But if you want to be able to like a single character, or even have sympathy for a character, look elsewhere. The only other book I've read by Koch so far is Summer House with Swimming Pool, and it was also filled with rather nasty people.

The Dinner is about one dinner between two brothers, one of them running for Prime Minister, and the wives of each. But of course, there is more to it than that. The brothers are getting together to talk about their children.

This book is full of cruelty, dishonesty, violence, bullying taken to an extreme, pomposity, posturing. The adults cannot be liked; the teenage children cannot be liked. I can care about characters I don't like, but in this case, there were no redeeming features.

Nevertheless, I read to the end. I did want to see how this train wreck of a story ended. And the author did keep me hooked. I'm glad I'm done with the book, and am ambivalent about whether I'm glad I read it. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Mar 14, 2017 |
It's the kind of book where you can't look away - like driving slowly past a traffic accident. Every detail is important. In the early part of the book, the details may seem trivial, but then as more information comes out, it comes together. The story started in a way I thought I understood, I thought I knew where it was going. And then before my eyes it completely changed direction! By then I was utterly hooked. There are some weak spots in the plot but they are easily overlooked. This is dark, disturbing, unpleasant and shocking, but undoubtedly clever. ( )
  VivienneR | Mar 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 230 (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.
“The Dinner,” Herman Koch’s internationally popular novel, is an extended stunt. Mr. Koch confines his story to one fraught restaurant meal, where malice, cruelty, craziness and a deeply European malaise are very much on the menu.
"The Dinner” has been wishfully compared to Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” (and enthusiastically endorsed by Ms. Flynn) for its blackhearted deviltry. But her book, with its dueling narrators, had two vicious but sympathetic voices. Her sneaky spouses were delectable in their evil genius. The Lohmans are indigestible.
added by sneuper | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Feb 6, 2013)
“The Dinner,” Herman Koch’s internationally popular novel, is an extended stunt. Mr. Koch confines his story to one fraught restaurant meal, where malice, cruelty, craziness and a deeply European malaise are very much on the menu. The four diners can leave the table occasionally, headed to the restrooms or the garden or the handy room of flashback memories. But mostly they sit and seethe at one another as a miserable night unfolds.
This book has been widely described as both thriller and chiller, but it really is neither.
But it’s the morality of the story that’s really sickening.
added by sneuper | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Feb 6, 2013)
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 (11 possible)

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

Quentin Tarantino
Reservoir Dogs
First words
We were going out to dinner.
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 12 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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