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The Dinner by Herman Koch
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The Dinner (edition 2013)

by Herman Koch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6182272,287 (3.43)214
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

  1. 20
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» See also 214 mentions

English (180)  Dutch (35)  Spanish (5)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (228)
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)
I pretty much hated all the characters by the middle of the book, and by the end u just wanted everyone to die. Not a redeeming soul to be found. I did, however, like the structure of the book. These are terrible parents. Okay, got that off my chest. ( )
  CeliciaS | Mar 15, 2015 |
3.5 stars. While I enjoyed listening to this book, there were no likable characters in this story. It all takes place over a dinner with two brothers and their wives. They need to talk about what to do about their 15 year old sons who have done something very wrong. ( )
  Dianekeenoy | Mar 5, 2015 |
THE DINNER Review I own the trade paperback version of THE DINNER. Paid seventeen bucks and some change for it at my local BAM. I'd heard mixed reviews, but of the bad reviews I read, no one was able to give me a good enough reason not to buy Herman Koch's sixth novel. A friend of mine, Mike Crane (Author of GIGGLES), read THE DINNER and loved it. Mike and I have had differing opinions on several novels in the past, but I usually, at the very least, can finish books he recommends. THE DINNER was one of those books were I mostly agree with Mike. It was worth the price of admission, even though I read the entire book in two sittings, and I do not regret adding the physical copy to my bookshelves. 
 
I normally start off my reviews with nitpicks or negative comments about the writing of a book, but I honestly could not find one thing about this novel to criticize. I sometimes find translated novels hard to read (THE GIRL IN THE DRAGON TATTOO, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, SYNDROME E), but that wasn't the case here. The prose flowed smoothly, effortlessly, and never felt stilted or off, giving me the sense that something had been lost in the conversion from the native tongue into English. In fact, this is the first translated novel I've read that feels as if the original novel had been written in English. My hat goes off to the translator. Sam Garrett has skills.
 
The reasoning behind my rating of four stars instead of five is purely personal taste. I was impressed by how Koch managed to keep me entertained for 100 pages wherein nothing much happens, aside from casual conversation over wine tasting and appetizers. In fact, the book doesn't really give away a single plot point until around page 150 or so. But, even then, the subject matter wasn't entirely my cup of tea. I wasn't disturbed or unsettled by the "atrocities" of which many reviewers spoke of, mainly because I remember news reports about this very thing happening either at home or abroad, a little less than a decade back. Also, I'm far too desensitized by graphic content for something as simple as the events of this book to turn my stomach. It was simply kinda "meh" to me, and I found myself saying, "Is that it? That's the "nasty" reviewers were talking about?" This is not a negative thing about the book, but, oddly enough, what I feel is a shocking epiphany concerning my own perception of what is horrific and what is not. The fact that I do not find what happens to the homeless woman in this novel to be overly disturbing means I've lost some humanity while traveling along this road of life. I rather mourn that loss. 
 
While I didn't find any of the twists all that explosive, I did not expect the ending. That is to say, I didn't expect the tone of the ending. To explain further would be to spoilerize this review, and I don't think that's necessary here. In my opinion, Koch phones in the reveal far too early, and I had the conclusion pinned down around page 230 out of a 290 page book (the last 14 pages of this 304-page novel are interviews, discussion topics for book clubs, and an essay by the author on how he writes). This didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book, either, it simply wasn't my favorite flavor of Skittles.
 
In summation: This is a well-written, terrifically-translated piece of fiction that is both easy to read and thought provoking. I didn't find it disturbing, whatsoever, but I'm also a jaded fuck who needs to take a hard look at himself to find out why the viscous murder of an innocent didn't strike a chord with him. Highly recommended for fans of dark fiction who like their plots loosely braided, like cornrows on white folk. ( )
  Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
I admit, I could NOT put this book down! It was dark and intriguing!

The reason I only give it 3/5 starts? I did some research and discovered that the author had in mind "something like Autism" when he described the condition the father and son have that make them do cruel things and not care about anyone else besides themself. I found that offensive. The author said he ended up not naming the condition in the book because he didn't want to have to deal with talking about it. Uh...if you're giving a character a mental illness you should be prepared to talk about it??? So the book was great, not impressed with the author. DEFINITELY a page turner! ( )
  Czarmoriarty | Jan 12, 2015 |
Disturbing, poignant, and well written. Throughly enjoyed. ( )
  Lucifey | Jan 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 180 (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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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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