Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Dinner By Herman Koch


"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 scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. 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.
     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"
The description made me want to read this book, but while the story held my interest I found it difficult to connect with any of the characters or empathize with any of their decisions. There was not so much a "tragedy" that any one was faced with nor did it make me wonder what I myself would do if faced with such an impossible "tragedy" The characters were too unreal. The plot was too implausible and the narrative too often stated "I'm not going to tell you" As in the wife is hospitalized but "I'm not going to tell you why" She had multiple surgeries but "I'm not going to tell you" what they were. One character has a mental illness of some sort but "I'm not going to tell you" what it is (since no such condition exists) oh and this illness could have been diagnosed before birth with an amnio but "I'm not going to tell you"   This was less a story of how far you would go to protect those you love and more a story of how far you would dig yourself into a deeper hole along with someone who was never in a million years going to be able to get away with what they've done.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for review


About Herman Koch

HERMAN KOCH is the author of eight novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, has been published in forty countries and was an international bestseller. He currently lives in Amsterdam
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