Title: The Dinner (Goodreads)
Author: Herman Koch
Published: Text, 2012
Genre: Literary Fiction, Mystery
My Copy: Paperback
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository, Kindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)
Paul and Claire are going out to dinner with Paul’s brother and his wife. The reason for this isn’t the usual family get together, this time they have something important to discuss; their children. The characters, the overpriced restaurant and the secret is what makes The Dinner by Herman Koch this novel live up to the hype. This satirical book was already a best seller but until only recently this book was never available in English.
I have to admit I was really looking forward to reading this book for my local book club; but what I was getting into, I really didn’t know. The Dinner is dark elegant book that takes you on a journey with some very unexpected twists. At first glance this book felt like a very light and easy read and you will plow through this book so quickly that when something unexpected happens you won’t see it coming. The characters in the book seem very real and Paul’s brother and his wife remind me a lot of characters from a Bret Easton Ellis book; they are charismatic and ambitious but feel very shallow nihilists.
The restaurant was a brilliant backdrop for this book; it was one of those places you need to book months in advance and Paul’s brother Serge thought it sport to try and book a table for the same day. Fine dining at a pretentious restaurant really felt like the perfect location for the explosive events in this book, you get the sense that everyone should act calm and composed in a place like this but what’s happened doesn’t really go hand in hand with calm or composed.
I was really pleased with this book, I love the dark and satirical nature of the plot mixed with the fine dining experience, they come together to make a thrilling read. The Dinner is full of mayhem and you will be shocked with every course been served but there is so much more in this book, the characters are real and it will question your thoughts of the best way to raise your children. The thought provoking elements remind me of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap and this book finds the balance between mystery and family drama. A well developed novel that I highly recommend people read