Picture of author.

Herman Koch

Author of The Dinner

42+ Works 8,314 Members 621 Reviews 3 Favorited

About the Author

Herman Koch was born in Arnhem, Netherlands on September 5, 1953. He is an author and actor. His has written several novels and short story collections including De Voorbijganger, Eten Met Emma, Denken aan Bruce Kennedy, and Summer House with Swimming Pool. The Dinner won the Publieksprijs Prize in show more 2009. He is an actor for radio, television, and film. He co-created the long-running TV series Jiskefet, which ran from 1990 to 2005. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Herman Koch

The Dinner (2009) 4,936 copies
Summer House with Swimming Pool (2011) 1,369 copies
Dear Mr. M (2014) 674 copies
Makkelijk leven (2017) 270 copies
The Ditch (2016) 242 copies
Red ons, Maria Montanelli (1989) 170 copies
Odessa Star (2003) 98 copies
Eten met Emma (2000) 77 copies
Finse dagen (2020) 75 copies
Denken aan Bruce Kennedy (2005) 72 copies
Eindelijk oorlog (1996) 45 copies
De ideale schoonzoon (2010) 44 copies
Een film met Sophia (2021) 28 copies

Associated Works

A Man Called Ove (2012) — Translator, some editions — 10,377 copies
Titaantjes waren we... : schrijvers schrijven zichzelf (2010) — Contributor — 55 copies
Amsterdam Noir (2018) — Contributor — 42 copies
TXT : alles is mogelijk in zestien verhalen (2010) — Contributor — 19 copies
De dierenwinkel (1995) — Author, some editions — 15 copies
Lange wandeling naar de eeuwigheid en andere verhalen (1979) — Translator — 14 copies
Nooit meer de Provence (2004) — Contributor — 5 copies


2013 (64) 2014 (70) 2016 (80) 2017 (79) adult (57) aging (133) Amsterdam (61) audio (64) audiobook (118) book club (97) contemporary (90) contemporary fiction (89) crime (81) Dutch (202) Dutch literature (187) ebook (133) family (218) fiction (1,418) friendship (193) grief (190) humor (229) Kindle (100) literature (119) loneliness (100) love (60) murder (57) mystery (69) neighbors (115) Netherlands (190) novel (170) read (165) read in 2017 (58) relationships (66) Roman (192) Sweden (340) Swedish (67) to-read (1,113) translated (55) translation (94) violence (53)

Common Knowledge



We are presently in a time where various and many evils are being perpetrated, and perhaps this wasn’t the right time to read this book, but once I’d opened to the first page I could not stop.
It’s a book of families, of genetic backgrounds, of secrets. But what makes it exemplary is the way it grabs you right round the throat and pulls you in, keeps you from looking away as the horrors multiply.
The narrator, Paul, takes us along on a tense evening spent with his twin brother and their wives. Paul’s brother, Serge, is a popular politician, contemplating a run for the leadership. Paul has been off on leave from his job as a history teacher. There’s bad blood, envy, between them. So far, so usual. But in the background there’s the hint of malevolence left uncontrolled. Both twins have 15 year old sons, and those boys have been up to something.
What that is comes to light over dinner, a ridiculously expensive and expansively detailed dinner at one of those restaurants where you are supposed to be pleased to receive two squares of ravioli for your $50, the sort of place where only the very special can get a table last minute, where Serge eats often.
I am still talking like the narrator, Paul, which is not a good thing because his bottled rage is not a good way to feel. He’s an indelible character, though, and I know he will be inhabiting my mind for rather too long in this, the summer of our discontent.
The writing is tight, even the lengthy descriptions of the waiter’s pinky finger seem necessary and work towards creating tension. Melting ice cream keeps the time.
It’s this sort of writing that makes me want to put my head down and weep over my own much inferior scribbling. And then to look over Koch’s work to see how he does it, how he can take you on such a ride and have you both reeling in horror and nodding along with the families...
… (more)
Dabble58 | 375 other reviews | Nov 11, 2023 |
All I can gauge from reading the reviews here is that 90% of people will say a book is poorly written and rate it 1 star is because "the characters are unlikable".
God forbid they stumble upon some gruesome crime fiction or something written from the perspective of an anatogonist.
breathstealer | 375 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
Herman Koch bespeelt de lezer en de ene keer is dat leuker dan de andere keer. Dit boek begint redelijk sterk, aardige karakterbeschrijvingen van koning, koningin en dochter. Maar het ontspoort, helaas, zodat het een tamelijk vervelend boek wordt.
elsmvst | 1 other review | Sep 4, 2023 |
I picked this up on a whim while on vacation. It was in the boat's library and I figured I would give it a shot. I went into this expecting something dark and creepy due to the description and the fact that it was called a 'European Gone Girl' on the back. I have not read that book but have heard it is really good and it's on my TBR. This started out creepy. The first few chapters made me uncomfortable in the best possible way but unfortunately, that did not last. The book switches between the perspectives of a few characters but it often isn't clear immediately which perspective a chapter/part is focusing on which took me out of the story while I tried to figure out where I was.

This book centers on Mr. M. He wrote a book called Payback which was based on a real (in the story) case of an obsessive teacher gone missing and the suspects of his disappearance. This story centers on the life of this writer as his neighbor becomes obsessed with watching him and 'giving him more information'. The premise seemed interesting enough, but I wasn't a fan of the execution.

Things I loved: surprising ending, twists, dual timeline, Amsterdam (the setting was done well), the main character is a writer

Things I didn't love: the ending was not the best, most of the characters (theme lately in the books I have read), too long

I am happy that I read this one but also could have lived without it.
… (more)
CaitlinDaugherty | 82 other reviews | Aug 28, 2023 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Sam Garrett Translator
Maarten Kools Photographer
Roald Triebels Cover designer
de Coster, Saskia Contributor
Rob van Essen Contributor
Bas Heijne Preface
Stine Jensen Contributor
Marcel Möring Contributor
Wanda Reisel Contributor
Manon Uphoff Contributor
Christiaan Weijts Contributor
Giorgio Testa Translator
Christiane Kuby Translator
Peter Kenny Narrator


Also by

Charts & Graphs