Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Dinner, by Herman Koch

Reason for reading: Salon review

Podcasts: None

Brow: Low to middle in Europe, middle to high outside Europe

Summary: Paul Lohman and his wife Claire have met for dinner with his brother Serge, a politician likely to be elected Prime Minister of the Netherlands, and his wife Babette. The ostensible reason for the dinner is to discuss the heinous crime their sons have committed and how to deal with the potential aftermath if it is discovered.

What I liked about it: I love a good unreliable narrator, and Paul is a shining exemplar. When we first meet him, he appears to be a normal, middle-class Dutchman, which is to say very normal indeed. But as the evening progresses and we're privy to his cynical thoughts and revelations about the restaurant his brother has chosen, Dutch people who love rural France, his own past, and what he discovered on his son's phone just before he left that evening, we find out just how far he's prepared to go to keep his family's secrets hidden.

Also, because I live in the Netherlands and therefore among the Dutch, it's always fun to hear them being self-critical.

What I didn't like about it: There is very little to dislike about this book if you're a fan of dark parodies like me.

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