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The Dinner by Herman Koch
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The Dinner (edition 2013)

by Herman Koch

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,2242691,720 (3.42)271
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. 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. 10
    The Debt to Pleasure by John Lanchester (sturlington)
    sturlington: Similar dark subject matter and unreliable narrator.
  5. 21
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    baystateRA: A first-person narration over a single long conversation with loads of backstory skillfully woven in.
  6. 21
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    INTPLibrarian: Disturbed child and parents dealing with it. Both with twists / unexpected parts.
  7. 00
    Munich Airport by Greg Baxter (RidgewayGirl)
    RidgewayGirl: Shares a sense of rising unease and the same style of narration, from close within the narrator's head.
  8. 00
    Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda (hste2011)
  9. 11
    The Circle by Dave Eggers (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both of these are novels of ideas.
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    julienne_preacher: Good books, unlikeable characters.
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» See also 271 mentions

English (220)  Dutch (35)  Spanish (5)  Italian (3)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  All (269)
Showing 1-5 of 220 (next | show all)
This book is deeply disturbing. Atrocious acts by teenage boys compel atrocious acts by their parents. No one in the book is likable. This book is worth the hype that it has generated. It resonates, if only that you feel you need to shower after having read it. ( )
  Juliasb | Dec 1, 2016 |
This was a page turner of a psychological thriller. I work with the homeless and found some parts of this book deeply disturbing but sadly also an accurate portrait of how some view homeless people. Haven't been this surprised about a book since Gone Girl. ( )
  mootzymom | Nov 24, 2016 |
This is one of those books you might love or you might hate or you might be somewhere in-between, but it's definitely one of those books that sparks conversation and has you thinking about after the fact. You won't love any of the characters, but that's not the point. It's a book you need to experience; not read a review about, so I'll stop here so you can grab a copy and check it out. ( )
  penguinasana | Nov 21, 2016 |
This psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat! It is not fast-paced, but certainly keeps you thinking and guessing as the author lets out a few clues at a time as to what is happening and going to happen.
It is the story of two brothers, and their wives, having dinner at a restaurant. They are there to discuss a family situation regarding each of their sons, and how they are going to handle it. All the time thinking how their decisions will affect the boys' futures, and their own futures, one of which is a high level politician. All the information is not revealed till the very end, and even then the reader is left with a few questions, such as "What just happened?!..."
I enjoyed this book very much and think it would make a good movie! ( )
  TerriS | Nov 11, 2016 |
Told through the eyes of a decidedly unreliable narrator, The Dinner is an elegantly simple novel served up over five courses. From the casual opening aperitif to the grittier, questionable digestif, the book layers on the story over a meal in a swanky restaurant.

The story revolves around two families who meet to discuss a problem with their children. The two men are brothers: the one being our narrator, who seems to have little time for the second, who we soon learn is a high-flying politician likely to become the next prime minister. During the course of the meal, details are filtered in, largely via flashbacks, as we learn the nature of the 'problem' the couples are having with their children, as well as becoming increasingly suspicious about the motives of our initially amiable narrator. There are plenty of shocks and twists to get the book through to its conclusion, and leaves the reader posed with the question on the book's cover: just how far would you go to protect the ones you love?

The writing style is very colloquial, each course easily digested, with the whole meal edible in one sitting. At times humourous, occasionally shocking, there is an interesting moral question being posed, but I think the book would like to be taken more seriously than it deserves. For me, it was an enjoyable read, but nothing more than entertainment.

Still, it remains a great little tale, light bite size portions gradually building up a satisfying meal, which depending on your palate might leave you feeling a little queasy - and nevertheless thanking the chef for it. ( )
  Fips | Oct 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 220 (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 (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Herman Kochprimary authorall editionscalculated
Garrett, SamTranslatorsecondary authorsome 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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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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)

» see all 9 descriptions

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