The Dinner by Herman Koch


9780770437855_custom-0fec8d6bec6f0261063ff3be14ce66895270b9a5-s6-c10-331x500The 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.

2 comments on “The Dinner by Herman Koch

  1. John Novick says:

    So glad we have PERFECT sons

    John Novick 415-497-6370 May have used SIRI so please blame my mistakes on her!

  2. commonriver says:

    Apples don’t fall far from the tree. And in terms of the nature/nurture debate, it is clear that the evil nature of the son comes from his parents as does the nurturing of evil. Very disturbing book…and here I thought it was going to be a read about a culinary take about a night out in a restaurant, being the foodie I am! The book is cleverly structured in that the entire story takes place over the course(s) of one meal one evening.

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