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Het diner by Herman Koch
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Het diner (edition 2009)

by Herman Koch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,9412471,954 (3.43)223
Member:sostojevski
Title:Het diner
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Amsterdam Anthos cop. 2009
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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)
    Nickelini: Both books center on a moral dilemma, both books feature unlikable characters behaving badly.
  3. 31
    Tirza by Arnon Grunberg (JustJoey4)
    JustJoey4: Wat ouderliefde met een mens kan doen...
  4. 31
    We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (INTPLibrarian)
    INTPLibrarian: Disturbed child and parents dealing with it. Both with twists / unexpected parts.
  5. 10
    The Debt to Pleasure: A Novel by John Lanchester (sturlington)
    sturlington: Similar dark subject matter and unreliable narrator.
  6. 10
    The Circle by Dave Eggers (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both of these are novels of ideas.
  7. 21
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (baystateRA)
    baystateRA: A first-person narration over a single long conversation with loads of backstory skillfully woven in.
  8. 10
    Defending Jacob by William Landay (CarterPJ)
  9. 00
    Munich Airport (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Shares a sense of rising unease and the same style of narration, from close within the narrator's head.
  10. 00
    Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda (hste2011)
  11. 01
    The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (julienne_preacher)
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» See also 223 mentions

English (200)  Dutch (35)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (248)
Showing 1-5 of 200 (next | show all)
The Dinner was a quick, dark read full of terrible people and terrible deeds. There is no point of redemption for any of the characters in this book. As the story reaches its final few pages, it becomes quite clear that redemption was never on the menu. This is about depravity, sickness, and brutality. And in that sense, it's quite satisfying in just how sinister it gets without becoming exploitative or obscene. It's violent, but not gory. Koch has done an excellent job of creating characters who are unreliable and abhorrent on nearly every level.

A main complaint I've seen in the reviews is that the characters are unrelateable - well I'd hope so. If you relate to any of the characters in The Dinner then I think you have bigger problems than finding a book you like. Relatability is not a main priority for me, so that didn't keep me from enjoying the book, but if you're a reader who likes to really empathize with your protagonists, you might want to keep looking. ( )
  cattylj | Feb 5, 2016 |
Seriously disturbed characters. Feel like I need a shower after that book. ( )
  tashlyn88 | Feb 5, 2016 |
The right book for me, at the right time. I can see that a literal, linear reading of this text would make it tedious and off-putting...but I was in the mood for leaps of the kind of logic that makes sense only in theory, not practice. The novel is a simmering pot of social criticism once you frame everything in it as ironic and exaggerated. For instance one thing that some reviewers found off-putting was the visit to the psychologist/diagnosis if neurological defect in the 'protagonist' about halfway through--but this can also be read as an indictment of the way moral choices have morphed into pathology, and/or the way any violent act these days coming from a seemingly "normal" person leads instantly to diagnostic opining in the next day's news. The novel unsettled me. It made me think far more about culpability than the more popular novel about family dynamics run amuck--We Need to Talk About Kevin. ( )
  poingu | Jan 23, 2016 |
I hated everyone in this book. I think the author was trying to explore how far parents would go to protect their children, but he engaged in ridiculous plot devices that made no sense. Did I miss something? ( )
  joyhclark | Jan 20, 2016 |
Not my usual style of book. There really wasn't a point to the book, but that's not to say it wasn't good. Just different ( )
  biggs1399 | Jan 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 200 (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 (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'?)

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)

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