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Het diner by Herman Koch

Het diner (edition 2009)

by Herman Koch

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2,188None2,957 (3.45)163
Title:Het diner
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Amsterdam Anthos cop. 2009
Collections:Your library

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The Dinner by Herman Koch

2013 (48) Amsterdam (13) audiobook (14) brothers (14) crime (40) Dutch (67) Dutch literature (45) ebook (31) family (80) family relations (12) fiction (202) Holland (24) juvenile crime (12) Kindle (18) literature (20) murder (17) Nederland (12) Netherlands (45) novel (29) ouder-kind relatie (12) politics (20) read (25) read in 2013 (31) restaurants (33) Roman (55) suspense (14) thriller (21) to-read (58) translation (12) violence (34)
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» See also 163 mentions

English (142)  Dutch (32)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (186)
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
Loved this book-despite hating every character in it. What a collection of nasty people, deeply unsympathetic, every one of them. It's odd for me not to be swept into sympathy with the narrator-I tend to take on their point of view and am very forgiving of their defects. And so it was with the man (husband and father) narrating this story of parental love and madness. Until I found him just too repulsive to forgive. And the mother, slightly more sympathetic but not much. And I forgive a lot done in the name of mother love but, again, she was just too ugly for me to like.

But I found the book mesmerizing-I literally read it in one reading; I couldn't put it down. Hard to know what the original prose is like but the translation (from Dutch) is smooth. And certainly the location, the characters and their relationships are artfully drawn.

An excellent book. I loved every nasty moment of it.
  EllieNYC | Apr 17, 2014 |

Man, I thought Scandinavian crime thrillers were dark but Dutch dramatic fiction? It is far more nefarious and sociopathic yet realistic. Herman Koch's The Dinner is about Paul Lohmann and his wife, Claire meeting his famous Prime Minister candidate brother Serge and his wife Babette at a fancy restaurant. Paul is hesitant. Not only does he want with the brouhaha that comes along with Serge but he doesn't want to have a very important discussion: what to do about their sons.

Paul and Claire's teenage son, Michel and Serge and Babette's son, Rick commit a very henious crime against a homeless woman. It's downright vicious and it was caught on camera and posted on YouTube. However, things get even more complicated when Paul realizes there is more to the video than what was originally shown and that this isn't their sons first foray into atrocious crimes against the homeless.

The Dinner was a quick read but it was really good. It's aslmost indescriable but I'm going to try. I've heard many reviewers compare it Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl but I've never read that book so that comparison fails to me. I guess I could compare to a slow blooming flower. When it reaches its zenith of beauty, it takes your breath away.

I started thinking that Paul was more favorable to Serge but that wasn't the case at all. Serge is arrogant but superficial and most importantly, harmless. Paul has more depth but is quite psychotic. It was easy to see when Michel gets his sociopathy from. Especially when Claire, originally I thought to be passive and practical, was Lady Macbeth except when she got things done, her conscience was gulit free. It was so weird that Serge and Babette were the normal couple by the book's end.

Another thing is that Holland is pretty lax with the time required after committing a crime, Only six years for Manslaughter? I also did not of France's hatred towards Holland. Koch did a very good job of detailing of just how far parents will protect their children and rationalize whatever delinquent behavior just to maintain their status quo. Many events were chilling to read. Mainly, they were so startling because of how realistic it all was. ( )
  Y2Ash | Apr 16, 2014 |
The Dinner by Herman Koch turned out to be a book that I would never ever read again or recommend to anyone to waste their time reading. To summarize, two couples are meeting for dinner to discuss what to do about the terrible thing that their teenagers did and somehow was caught on video. Opposite ends of the parental spectrum, one wants them to confess while the other will stop at nothing to keep it secret. All of this plays out over the course of the worst dinner ever.

I get that the author was trying to show the complexity of family interactions and how we really don't know what we would do until faced with a no win situation. However, the characters behave in such odd ways, were terribly unlikable and although I can understand the writers purpose, I just can't get around the convenience of the plot. With the single point of view the narrator, we are only able to experience all these moving parts from his perspective only. Combined with odd flashbacks and the ending seems as if the writer was trying to prove a point but forgot to let the reader know.

Overall, I'd give it a D. ( )
  nhazara | Apr 16, 2014 |
This book somewhat reminds me of [Defending Jacob] but, a darker version, if that's possible. The storyline is set over the course of 1 dinner. 2 Brothers and their wives discuss a terrible, reprehensible secret and each of the adults deal with their decision on how to handle it. Told in the voice of Paul, who is struggling with the truth of seeing himself in his child and deciding to what extreme he is willing to go to cover-up for his son's actions. Disturbing, dark topic that surely will bring on a discussion of what would you do? ( )
  booklovers2 | Apr 13, 2014 |
Dark! There wasn't a character I walked away liking but wow, what a novel. May make you ask - what would you do for your child? ( )
  Mooose | Apr 12, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 142 (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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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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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Haiku summary
Soap opera. Cast:
The Jukes family. (What's the
Dutch for 'OTT'?)

No descriptions found.

Two couples meet for dinner at a fashionable restaurant in Amsterdam. Behind their polite conversation, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Average: (3.45)
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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