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The Dinner by Herman Koch
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The Dinner

by Herman Koch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,5262901,498 (3.43)293
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» See also 293 mentions

English (240)  Dutch (35)  Spanish (5)  Italian (3)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All (290)
Showing 1-5 of 240 (next | show all)
The characters are great, and you end up hating them all for what they do in the end. The story moves along and keeps your interest. ( )
  caanderson | Nov 16, 2017 |
Is it realistic to think that a father and mother would go to such lengths as are depicted in this story to protect the abominable acts of their child? Maybe. There is perhaps some explanation for the father's behavior due to his psychiatric condition (which has apparently been genetically passed on to his son) for which he is supposed to be taking medication, but what about the mother? This story raises lots of thought-provoking questions, but mainly I was appalled. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Oct 28, 2017 |
Paul and Claire meet his brother, Serge and his wife Babette, for dinner one evening to talk about their children. Serge is running for Prime Minister and wants to do damage control. The other three have other ideas.

The story is told in flashbacks of the relationships and events of Paul's life. I liked Paul but I never warmed to most of the characters. I have a lot of questions for them.

This is probably a book I would never have picked up on my own had it not been for my book club. There is a lot to discuss and think about in this book. How do people make the choices they do? Very thought provoking and timely. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Sep 14, 2017 |
Shocking! I could not put this book down. It was billed as a tale of the lengths to which a family will go to protect its loved ones. It is much more than that. I have to tell myself that this is the story of how an aberrant family will protect itself. Otherwise, I would not be able to sleep. This is a translation, but the language is gripping and the story proceeds in a manner which is appealing, then thought-provoking, then horrifying. Well done! ( )
  hemlokgang | Sep 12, 2017 |
The premise is interesting---a story unfolding over the course of a dinner---but I'm not sure it worked well in practice. The narrator established himself as a liar fairly early on, and once I stopped believing him, I found I couldn't believe anything he said and was no longer invested in the story. I couldn't tell which were the narrator's lies and which were mistakes on the author's part. Even if the Dutch criminal justice system is ridiculously lenient, I can't imagine some of the things the narrator claims to have done just being brushed under the rug with no consequences. And what the heck kind of mental illness can be detected by amniocentesis?

It reminded me a little of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch; the reader couldn't trust anything that narrator was saying either. I liked Tartt's novel more than I did this one. It felt more like a puzzle, and I enjoyed trying to spot the lies, but both novels leave me wondering what the point was. I think that means that the novels are postmodern. I don't think I like postmodernism. At least The Dinner wasn't as long as The Goldfinch. ( )
1 vote ImperfectCJ | Jul 26, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 240 (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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Book description
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)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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