The Dinner

UnknownThe Dinner
by Herman Koch
2013 / 306 pages (Kindle)
Rating:  A-

(for a spoilerish analysis of the chapter titles and menu see “the menu.” 

Paul and Clair Lohman,  a very happily married couple live with their teenage son in some city in Holland.  As the book opens  Paul and Claire meet Serge Lohman,  Paul’s brother,  and his wife Babette at an upscale restaurant.  Paul has just recently, right before the restaurant meeting,  discovered something very seriously amiss on his son’s computer.   The suspense builds from there.

Serge is a very well-known candidate for some high office.  He and Babette have three teenage children,  two boys (one adopted from Africa) and a girl.  Paul presents Serge as a somewhat dim egotistical phony who is a wine connoisseur  of some sort.   But it turns out Paul has his own major  issues rendering him not quite reliable.

Themes?
“All unhappy families are unhappy in their own way” seems to be a theme of sorts  –   perhaps being “ordinary” is a theme.    “He wanted to be like everyone.”

Although it’s really quite good (A-) I was generally not all that impressed by the book,  but I think it’s primarily because I read Defending Jacob about a year ago and in its own way this is quite similar.

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3 Responses to The Dinner

  1. Lisa Hill says:

    Do you think it’s in any way similar to We Need to Talk About Kevin? I read that ages ago and I can’t remember anything about it except that it has a similar theme…

    Like

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