Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Dinner
By: Herman Koch
Hogarth, 2013

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One evening in Amsterdam, two couples meet at an extravagant restaurant for a seemingly banal dinner.   Narrated by the husband of one of the couples, the novel progresses through the various courses of dinner.  As the courses are brought to the table and then whisked away by attentive servers, the tension between the two couples builds.

This novel is great because of its slow burn.  You can feel an underlying tension from page one, which slowly mounts.  This underlying, but yet-to-be-ascertained source of tension kept me turning pages well past my bedtime!

Another key element of this tension is a narrator who is revealed as increasingly unreliable.  Koch's ability to gain and then destroy your trust makes this book such an interesting read.

Recommend to: Anyone up for questioning morality.  Those people who get excited about unlikable characters and a novel with a slow buildup.

Food for thought (see what I did there, I'm punny): What actions are excusable based on parental love?  What are the boundaries for parents seeking to protect their children?

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