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The Dinner by Herman Koch

The Dinner

by Herman Koch

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,7843091,960 (3.42)301
  1. 40
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  5. 10
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  8. 00
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    RidgewayGirl: Shares a sense of rising unease and the same style of narration, from close within the narrator's head.
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» See also 301 mentions

English (257)  Dutch (36)  Spanish (5)  Italian (4)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (309)
Showing 1-5 of 257 (next | show all)
I thought this book was really good. I usually enjoy books that show how far a person will go when they think they are protecting a loved one. I also like books that show the disgusting side of being a human. I loved Gone Girl (and Gillian Flynn's other books) for that reason, and I liked this book for that reason. However, I will say that I really don't understand the similarities beyond that. Gone Girl was wonderfully shocking. This book was just having me go "hmm...wow." Gone Girl I was going "WHAT THE F..." I thought that every single character in The Dinner was egotistical and immoral and I definitely didn't finish the book loving any of them, but it was well written and had a surprising ending. I recommend it. ( )
  thisismelissaanne | Oct 29, 2018 |

I was worried that this might be a boring dinner party book where everyone talks about their relationships and problems, and I don't care about any of them. It is in fact such a book, but it sure isn't boring. You can't really describe the problems and solutions without ruining the book, but I was riveted. I read it in one sitting.

The best part was when the nicey nice compliant wife couldn't take it anymore and loudly rejected her hugely expensive and disgusting dessert. ( )
  JanetNoRules | Sep 17, 2018 |
Best book I've read this year so far. The writing is tight and sharp and hilarious, and there are plenty of surprises packed into this one little dinner, between these two couples. I asked my friend Francie to bring this book to me because it is not going to be published in the United States until 2013 or 2014. I owe Francie a big one for bringing this from Scotland for me. I can't talk a lot about the plot or anything, because it would give the entire story away, but I will say, a perfectly well deserved five stars. ( )
  adaorhell | Aug 24, 2018 |
I loved the premise of this book, but the execution annoyed me; see review by Karen (she comes up first) for all the reason why - she captured my frustration perfectly. I felt [b:We Need to Talk About Kevin|80660|We Need to Talk About Kevin|Lionel Shriver|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327865017s/80660.jpg|3106720] handle this type of material so much better! That book haunted me, this one annoyed me! ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Herman Koch’s The Dinner, translated from the Dutch, is set in modern Amsterdam. Most of the novel’s action takes place over the course of an expensive dinner endured by two couples at an upscale restaurant. The narrator, Paul, begins by expressing his dread over the upcoming evening and alludes to his antipathy toward the other party. The reader is drawn into his thoughts, memories and apprehensions. Paul and his wife Claire are joined by his famous sibling and his wife. It is apparent that there is some long-standing resentment and tension between the four. Throughout the dinner, they seem to be building toward an unavoidable confrontation- one that keeps Paul searching for ways to postpone the reason for their gathering. The book tackles questions of wealth and privilege, fame and reputation in the face of potential scandal. It also addresses the issues of parental obligations and advocacy, and the lengths to which parents are willing to go to shield their children from the consequences of their actions. The reader is led to contemplate the point at which these self-serving goals begin to alienate people from each other and create inevitable competition even within families. Each section of The Dinner is titled after a course as it is served during the meal. The characters are extremely interesting and morally ambiguous, unlikeable in many ways- and perhaps too familiar. Despite the constrained timeline, the novel is psychologically deep and suspenseful. Koch has created a work that is timely, thought-provoking and ultimately disturbing. Readers who prefer dark thrillers that focus on character and larger ethical concerns would find the Dinner to be extremely satisfying. ( )
1 vote jnmegan | Jul 31, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 257 (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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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
C'mon, throw in a buck.
Uh-huh, I don't tip.
Whaddaya mean, you don't tip?
I don't believe in it.

Quentin Tarantino
Reservoir Dogs
First words
We were going out to dinner.
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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Two brothers and their wives meet for dinner at a fashionable restaurant in Amsterdam. Behind their polite conversation, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened. Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to 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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