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The Dinner by Herman Koch
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The Dinner (edition 2013)

by Herman Koch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,7392352,146 (3.43)219
Member:BronFoxall
Title:The Dinner
Authors:Herman Koch
Info:Hogarth (2013), Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:Dutch, Translation, Families

Work details

The Dinner by Herman Koch

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» See also 219 mentions

English (187)  Dutch (35)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (235)
Showing 1-5 of 187 (next | show all)
If you've read The Dinner and want a place to talk about it with spoilers, we're discussing it over at The Socratic Salon.

The Dinner is what I wish every thriller would be, a brilliant work of building and restraint. While some have complained that the beginning is slow, I think that Koch establishes his characters perfectly - particularly with Paul's relateable, snarky comments. Once the "Main Course" started to fall into place, I read the second half of the book in one sitting. Shocking without being over the top or unbelievable, The Dinner deserves all of its bestselling praise. ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
Paul and his brother Serge are taking their wives out for dinner at an upscale restaurant. Serge has arranged the dinner at a restaurant that is well out of Paul’s budget. That’s always a problem, but there are other reasons the two brothers do not get along. As the dinner progresses Paul cannot help but continually think back to the unusual happenings at home lately. What exactly is going on with his son? As the dessert course approaches we learn that this dinner is not just an ordinary dinner – the two couples are here to discuss their children.

I have been procrastinating about writing the review of this book because I have a difficult time writing negative reviews. Particularly when the book is well written. And this book is very well written, in my opinion, it just does not live up to the hype. I never got involved enough to care about the characters, so when the big reveal happened I just shrugged my shoulders. A little slow moving and just not my cup of tea. This is one of those cases where, if I had been reading the book rather than listening to it on audio, I would have closed the covers and added it the “nope, cannot finish this” pile.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
if you can make it past the first third of the book which is entirely full of talk about restaurants, you might start to hope that the book will get less dull. it does get less dull. but what replaces the dull is some attempt to make unrealistically horrible characters seem charming as they tear each other apart. not sure what this book is trying to do, here. ( )
  weeta | Jul 5, 2015 |
Loved the author's ability to make me shift alliances many times, and then finally despise all characters equally all whilst keeping me thoroughly entertained. ( )
  viviennestrauss | Jun 29, 2015 |
Giving this 3 stars. It was a tough call. The plot mesmerizing and disturbing the book is very well written. But in the end, it was disappointing. There only reason the characters seem to behave in the way they do is some unknown genetic disease.

I'd recommend it with the warning that if you are a parent, it will tug on your worst fears. ( )
  dham340 | May 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 187 (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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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)

» see all 8 descriptions

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