The Dinner by Herman Koch
(Hogarth, 2013, 304 pages)
I didn’t know much about this book when I started reading it and when the father brings up the fact that he sees a disturbing video on his son’s phone, I have to admit, I searched for a description of the book to see where it was going. Luckily I didn’t find out too much because the best part about this book is how the author paces the multiple revelations in the story. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it was hard to put down and it’s a book that will be hard to forget.
“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.” – Amazon.com
You can also read Julia’s review of this title.