The Dinner

The Dinner

A Novel

Book - 2013
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"A European Gone Girl ." -- The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives -- all over the course of one meal.

It's a summer's evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse -- the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, 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.
     Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
Publisher: New York : Hogarth, 2013, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780770437855
Branch Call Number: KOC
Characteristics: 292 p. ;,22 cm
Additional Contributors: Garrett, Sam

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JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Oct 01, 2018

An odd read with a slow build. Worth checking out for those who enjoy character driven titles with unreliable narrators.

JohnK_KCMO Mar 15, 2018

It takes guts to write a book in which every character is despicable. If you need to like the characters you read about, stay away from this title. If you want characters who are fascinating, but not very likeable, there's much to relish here.

p
PearlyKayAm1
Jan 21, 2018

Interesting book which left a few loose ends so it was not a completely satisfying read.

GillyGal Oct 21, 2017

I read this book because it is a read-a-like to Gone Girl and Defending Jabob which are both page turners. The Dinner did not reach that level of intrigue and suspense for me. It was a long dinner. Herman Koch is a good writer but this just wasn't for me.

k
KarenCharMeck
Jun 26, 2017

I agree with the comments below from "darladoodles". The book is odd; different from other stories I've read. Each of the characters are very flawed. The structure of the story is interesting, and by the end it all feels very strange to have read.

ArapahoeSummer Jun 09, 2017

Initially, Paul's insights carried the story for me and kept me turning the pages. However, the book becomes darker with each course brought to the table. I found the story deeply unsettling.

d
darladoodles
May 07, 2017

It seems very wrong to say "I really liked" this book. It reminded me of "The Girl on the Train" in that I did not find any of the characters -- not one-- to be redeemable. "Dear old Dad" is a sociopath and we spend the book in his head.

What fascinated me about this book was the slow and deliberate unraveling of the details surrounding the dinner and the necessity for the two couples to spend an evening together. Koch masterfully lays out the plot using flashbacks from the past and then finishes it off with a creepy, but not unexpected conclusion.

Would make a great book for reading groups as there are many discussions to be had concerning sociopathic behavior, selective abortion, sibling relationships, the problem of the homeless and racism.

s
Soundreader
Feb 18, 2017

Top of my recommend list. The main reason is that this story, the characters, and the mystery unravel throughout a four-course meal, which is the literal and metaphorical backdrop of this story. Thought-provoking, moral dilemma presented to two sets of parents over dinner. Well worth reading.

j
jbee33
Jan 11, 2017

This was an odd book. I really liked strange build up to something, but what that something could be was hard to guess as you kept reading. Probably one of the weirdest, almost about nothing book I've read, until the end. Unlike other reviews, I thought the end was kind of different and interesting...and unexpected.

c
Candaceb108
Dec 01, 2016

Reading the other comments and the book, it proves how greatly we privileged types all believe in this mythology that 'everything will be alright' and 'we all do the right thing'. It won't; it hasn't many times, and we don't, and we haven't many times. The characters are very real. I bet in these types of situations this is the type of result that occurs rather than our belief that we are all true blue. Great read, great of the author to ask us to look at ourselves.

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maggielo
Aug 19, 2015

if u liked gone girl, 2 families, sons are friends and do a horrific act.

lorna2511 Sep 14, 2013

An engaging, comedic book - it reminds me of God of Carnage. Funny, shocking and quite dark too.

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Misscurly Jan 06, 2014

Misscurly thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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