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Sarah Broadhurst's view...
May 2013 Book of the Month.
This is one of those books like The Slap and We Need to Talk About Kevin where no one is likeable and the outcome difficult to predict. Here the family drama is related during a posh restaurant dinner as brothers and their wives partake of the sort of pretentious meal that the rich and famous revel in, only throughout this one there is a family crisis. Both couples have teenage boys who have been involved in a violent crime caught on CCTV but in such a way as to make it almost impossible to identify the boys. Their parents know who they are and now each is out to protect their own. This is shocking, with a stunning conclusion. A very clever book - dark, satirical and interestingly structured, made more complicated by an unreliable narrator. Personally I could have done with less food. Fascinating stuff.
The Lovereading view...
This contentious tour de force of middle class morality in the face of family disaster has, like The Slap, become a real talking point. A seemingly polite dinner in Amsterdam between friends spirals out of control as the horrors of what needs to be discussed, and what they will do to protect themselves, unfolds. Uncomfortable to read but searingly well observed. Find out what all the fuss is about - it will be worth it.
In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Dinner, a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'The Dinner is full of suspense and kept me gasping all of the way through' - Michelle Russ. Scroll down to read more reviews.
The Dinner by Herman Koch
An evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet for dinner. They need to discuss their teenage sons. The boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on CCTV. They remain unidentified - except by their parents. How far will each couple go to protect their child?
We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review The Dinner. You can read their reviews below.
Sharon Butler - 'The overall story is intriguing and does raise the question of what is morally right and wrong when it comes to family and how far people are prepared to go to protect those they love.' Click here to read the full review.
J B Johnston - 'the story draws you in, and you become how far will their parents go to do what they consider the right thing? It poses a serious moral dilemma for every parent – how far would you go to protect your child? Click here to read the full review.
Nailah Afghan - 'The story line was fascinating, the characters were very believable and overall this was a thrilling book, exploring the depths to which some people might plunge in order to protect their offspring.' Click here to read the full review.
Judith Davies - 'A thriller with a difference!...The author really makes you question your loyalty and your family values...If you love thrillers THE DINNER is a must read!' Click here to read the full review.
Joy Bosworth - 'A man and his wife dine out with his brother and sister-in-law. It should be pretty uneventful – and it is. But the underlying circumstances are anything but...There is a great deal here...but it is never predictable or boring.' Click here to read the full review.
Kath Thornton - This dark modern day tragedy is told in chapters relating to the different courses in a meal. I must say I read quickly in two sittings as I couldn’t wait to see what happened at the end of the meal.' Click here to read the full review.
Richard Hamlin - 'This book is a thriller; not in the sense of suspense and guessing who did what, but in the sense of the darkening mood and the build up to its close.' Click here to read the full review.
Michelle Russ - Reading In Progress blogspot 'The Dinner is full of suspense and kept me gasping all of the way through...Overall, a good read and I would definitely recommend it.'Click here to read the full review.
Sally Doel - 'This is a very interesting and engrossing read...I thoroughly recommend this book to anybody who enjoys a good mysterious (and dark) read.' Click here to read the full review.
Joan Hill - 'this is a page-turner of a novel, but all the time dreading what is almost sure to happen...Would you turn in a member of your family when an odious crime resulting in death had been committed?'Click here to read the full review.
Praise for Herman Koch:
'Funny, provocative and exceedingly dark, this is a brilliantly addictive novel that wraps its hands around your throat on page one and doesn't let go.'
'The Dinner is a riveting, compelling and a deliciously uncomfortable read. Like all great satire it is both lacerating and so very funny... Intelligent and complex, this novel is both a punch to the guts and also a tonic. It clears the air. A wonderful book.'
'What a tremendous book. I loved every single gripping and strange thing about it.'
'By the end of The Dinner you'll have to rethink everything, including who you are and what you believe. This is a book you won't forget.'
'Rather like The Slap it is set to become a contentious must-read. It may thrill, chill or cheat, but it is undeniably riveting.'
Arifa Akbar, Independent
'The perfect undemanding, credible, terrifying beach read.'
Simon Kuper, Financial Times
'The talking point of the summer.'
Sunday Times Style
'A well-paced and entertaining novel. It will sit well with The Slap and Christopher Wakling's What I Did (2011) on the shelves of those who enjoy seeing what happens when the cosy certainties of middle-class families are shattered, when the thin facades of decency and manners are wrenched aside, showing the brutal, violent creatures that lurk beneath the surface.'
Alex Preston, Observer
'Slick, thrillerish and highly enjoyable.'
Robert Collins, Sunday Times Culture
'An essential summer read.'
'Mr Koch's book proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world. The reader does not rise from his table happy and replete so much as stand up suddenly, pale and reeling. Bored with Fifty Shades of Grey and all that brouhaha? Read The Dinner - and taste the shock.'
About the Author
Publication date2nd May 2013
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