The Dinner by: Herman Koch

the dinner

I have decided to dedicate November to reading books that involve food or food related situations.  My very first read was Herman Koch’s The Dinner.

About The Dinner- from

“A European Gone Girl.” —The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal.

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.

My Review:  I absolutely loved this book.  It is setup so that the story takes place over the period of one dinner out with flashbacks that help fill in the details.  I thought the setup of the story was brilliant.  I enjoyed the way in which the book as a whole was separated into each part of a meal.  The scenario itself was a tough one to swallow (pun intended) as a parent myself.  It is hard to imagine how I would react if the tables were turned on me and I was in that situation.  I thought the dynamic between the two families were very true to life and relatable.

To be honest, now that I’m thinking about it, I think the ending was a bit abrupt in a way, even though the situation was “resolved”.  I want to know more about the families but I am satisfied with the ending.  I really enjoyed Herman Koch’s writing style and would not hesitate to pick up his other works.  Here is a link to his author page on Penguin Random House:

I give this book 5 crowns and would definitely recommend this for a book club or reading group.  There is plenty to discuss and debate.


Disclaimer:  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  However, these thoughts are my own and I was not persuaded to write either a positive or negative review.

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