Herman Koch’s THE DINNER

This was an intriguing novel that I’m still trying to get my head around. From the back of the book and what I had been told about the book The Dinner is about two couples, including two brothers, who are meeting for dinner at an upmarket restaurant. It is told from the pint of view of one brother, Paul, who is dreading the dinner. Partly because his brother, Serge, is a successful politician destined to be the next Prime Minster and because the reason they are having dinner is to discuss their teenage sons.
The setting up of the dinner and the restaurant is bitingly funny from the pretentiousness of the menu and the food to the attitude and demeanor of the staff. If I ever have a waiter who uses their pinky finger to point at anything I think I will burst into uncontrollable laughter.
The awkwardness of dinner conversation is also played really well until the book takes an unusual turn. Your faith in the trustworthiness of the narrator Paul begins to wane and the seriousness of what the couple’s children have done comes to light. What the four characters each do when this happens is also completely unexpected.
This is going to be a great book for reading groups as it will certainly stir up debate just like We Need To Talk About Kevin or The Slap. The book was intriguing but I missed the biting humour in the second half of the story. I also felt a little played the way elements of the story were neatly omitted and then dropped in and I’m not entirely sure everything added up properly. The ending is brilliant though and I’ll be interested to hear what other people think.

One thought on “Herman Koch’s THE DINNER

  1. Sorry Jon. This book is populated by awful people who look at the world in a disturbingly warped way and cover up a despicable act of violence. I really wanted to like it but, in the end, I thought it had absolutely no redeeming elements.


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