The Dinner by Herman Koch is riveting but not necessarily a pleasant read. Best said by this title The Dinner Offers Food for Thought (NPR Review 2/20/13). Definitely,this book challenged my digestion. The Dinner is about despicable people doing despicable things. The story takes place over a long dinner at a restaurant in Amsterdam on a summer evening. Our narrator and guide is Paul Lohman who smothers us with his distaste for the pretentiousness of the restaurant and the people who inhabit it. He rants and dismisses the choices of others and the politicians. We are told the two couples are having dinner to discuss their sons. But that is the tip of an ugly iceberg. “The polite, dull conversation builds tension as they postpone the terrible things that need to be said and civility deteriorates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions” (New York Times Book Review, 2/20/2013)
As the dinner proceeds so does the history with flashbacks of these couples. It is hard to find a redeeming quality in any of them or their sons. The secrets are eventually unleashed and we learn their sons have done a terrible act. Sadly, the parents are lulled into justifying the horrible deeds. The question asked is how far would you go to protect your child if they did something terrible? Don’t let these parents be your moral compass…you will find them indigestible.
That is my 2 cents.