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The Dinner by Herman Koch
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The Dinner (edition 2013)

by Herman Koch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,2992002,763 (3.44)182
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

2013 (49) 2014 (13) Amsterdam (15) audiobook (14) brothers (14) crime (46) Dutch (71) ebook (35) family (90) family relations (12) fiction (224) Holland (29) juvenile crime (13) Kindle (20) literature (21) murder (20) Nederland (60) Nederlandse literatuur (48) novel (33) ouder-kind relatie (14) politics (21) read (26) read in 2013 (35) restaurants (38) Roman (56) suspense (15) thriller (23) to-read (73) translation (12) violence (35)
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» See also 182 mentions

English (154)  Dutch (32)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (199)
Showing 1-5 of 154 (next | show all)
I loved this beautifully written and perfectly paced novel. At the beginning, we meet the narrator Paul, a man with a chip on his shoulder the size of a small country, whose snippy observations about the world in general and his high-profile politician brother in particular, were an unmitigated delight. As the novel progresses, it becomes darker, and whilst it is still funny, it is also very unsettling. A masterclass in the unreliable-narrator genre, it was brilliant from start to finish. I hope some of this author’s other work has been translated into English – definitely one I’d read more by. ( )
1 vote jayne_charles | Jul 18, 2014 |
This is another fantastic recommendation from the Books on the Nightstand podcast. It's a short, gripping novel that involves parenting, family, violence and mental illness--and of course the dreaded family dinner.

Definitely recommend this book!! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I picked this book up because my local independent bookstore recommended it. Bad decision on my part. This story was just another example how a certain few believe their lives are worth more than others. ( )
  Jolynne | Jul 4, 2014 |
I am glad I read it even though once I understood what the characters were up to, it became difficult and uncomfortable. It is certainly different and the characters are mean and sick. I am glad that most books are not like that but I appreciate an author that can write with so much sarcasm ( )
  drjesons | Jun 29, 2014 |
The Dinner is told through a single dinner that two brothers and their wives have at a fancy restaurant in Amsterdam. The novel is divided into five parts that chronicle the different parts of the meal: aperitif, appetizer, main course, desert and digestif. The purpose of their dinner is to discuss a heinous crime their 15 year old sons have committed, but we only really learn about the crime in the Main Course and they do not manage to discuss it until the Desert.

Initially the novel is taut, insightful, funny and ominous as it keeps its entire focus on the dinner, brilliantly conveying the perspective of narrator about his brother, a somewhat pompous fool who is expected to be elected the next Prime Minister of the Netherlands. The narrator takes his time describing the mental process that led him to order goat cheese, despite not liking it, a hilarious conversation about Woody Allen's Match Point where he turns the tables on his brother's description of it as a "masterpiece" and a hilarious set of scenes as the Manager incompetently attempts to serve the table himself.

By the Main Course, the novel has become mostly flashbacks to the events of recent weeks: a video of the brutal sport killing of a homeless woman is broadcast on national television, the perpetrators are grainy and indistinguishable to all except their own parents: the two brothers and their wives. And none of them have even acknowledged to each other that they know it's their children on the video. At this point, the bourgeois facade collapses completely and the novel slips into more violence. While this is still a page turner, it is no longer particularly funny, seems more depraved than insightful, and also more conventional.

Overall, it was a well-written page turner, but the lack of particularly interesting characters and its shift into something more conventional meant that while it ended well, it did not end nearly as well as it began. ( )
1 vote nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 154 (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.
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)

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