Tuesday, September 6, 2016

The Dinner by Herman Koch (2012)

The DinnerThe Dinner by Herman Koch
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The burb on the book flap describe the hinge: "Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act." But you gradually realize what the boys did, while truly horrific, isn't all that's rotten in Denmark (or Holland). One of the arch questions this book forces you to ask yourself is the old chestnut - are people inherently evil, or is evil made? The answer here isn't that simple, as Koch layers on a tale of what, is on the surface, a simple meal at a restaurant between these two couples. Koch is great at lulling you into thinking various things are true about these four people and their children; don't be fooled. The unreliable narrator is such a delightful device, wiggly and tricky, and when done as well as this, ain't we got fun.

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My boss recommended this book to me, a couple of years ago. It's a strong read, disturbing but not the nightmare inducing type of disturbing.

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