The Dinner

The Dinner

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
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"Paul Lohman and his wife Claire are going out to dinner with Paul's brother Serge, a charismatic and ambitious politician, and his wife Babette. Paul knows the evening will not be fun. The restaurant will be over-priced and pretentious, the head waiter will bore on about the organically certified free-range this and artisan-fed that, and almost everything about Serge, especially his success, will infuriate Paul. But as the evening wears on it becomes clear that tonight's dinner will be even more difficult than usual. There is something the two couples have to discuss. It's about their teenage sons and the very bad thing they have been doing. And it's about how far two sets of parents will go to save their children from the consequences of their actions." --wheelers.co.nz.
Publisher: London : Atlantic Books., 2012
Description: 309 p. ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9780385346856
9780770437855
9781848873827
1848873824
9781921758522
Branch Call Number: Koch
Additional Contributors: Garrett, Sam
Koch, Herman 1953-

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KarenCharMeck
Jun 26, 2017

I agree with the comments below from "darladoodles". The book is odd; different from other stories I've read. Each of the characters are very flawed. The structure of the story is interesting, and by the end it all feels very strange to have read.

AL_SUMMER Jun 09, 2017

Initially, Paul's insights carried the story for me and kept me turning the pages. However, the book becomes darker with each course brought to the table. I found the story deeply unsettling.

d
darladoodles
May 07, 2017

It seems very wrong to say "I really liked" this book. It reminded me of "The Girl on the Train" in that I did not find any of the characters -- not one-- to be redeemable. "Dear old Dad" is a sociopath and we spend the book in his head.

What fascinated me about this book was the slow and deliberate unraveling of the details surrounding the dinner and the necessity for the two couples to spend an evening together. Koch masterfully lays out the plot using flashbacks from the past and then finishes it off with a creepy, but not unexpected conclusion.

Would make a great book for reading groups as there are many discussions to be had concerning sociopathic behavior, selective abortion, sibling relationships, the problem of the homeless and racism.

s
Soundreader
Feb 18, 2017

Top of my recommend list. The main reason is that this story, the characters, and the mystery unravel throughout a four-course meal, which is the literal and metaphorical backdrop of this story. Thought-provoking, moral dilemma presented to two sets of parents over dinner. Well worth reading.

j
jbee33
Jan 11, 2017

This was an odd book. I really liked strange build up to something, but what that something could be was hard to guess as you kept reading. Probably one of the weirdest, almost about nothing book I've read, until the end. Unlike other reviews, I thought the end was kind of different and interesting...and unexpected.

c
Candaceb108
Dec 01, 2016

Reading the other comments and the book, it proves how greatly we privileged types all believe in this mythology that 'everything will be alright' and 'we all do the right thing'. It won't; it hasn't many times, and we don't, and we haven't many times. The characters are very real. I bet in these types of situations this is the type of result that occurs rather than our belief that we are all true blue. Great read, great of the author to ask us to look at ourselves.

m
modestgoddess
Nov 05, 2016

This novel is very well written, but by the end I was extremely frustrated and irritated by the turn events took. The wife's protracted stay in hospital is never explained - ditto the narrator's "syndrome". I even tried to look it up - and discovered, from an interview with the author that I found on GoodReads, that he made it up and says that that is the only piece of "science fiction" in the book. No no no - not allowed! Very disappointed in this book.

z
Zapacuerno
Sep 17, 2016

It gets off to a great start, the snarky narrator is kind of endearing, but as the tale unspools with him revealing more details of himself he and his kin become less and less likeable and sympathetic. Well written yet disturbing.

s
sigridmac
Jul 31, 2016

I was completely entranced with this book in the beginning, but then I began to find it chilling and creepy and ultimately dissatisfying at the end. I can't say why without making a major spoiler comment. This is not a feel-good book. It is a really interesting psychological portrait of all the characters, particularly our narrator. And it is fast-paced and realistic. I could see this happening.

j
june_hope
Dec 31, 2015

The Dinner is a perfect “no hero” novel. Nothing like “they lived happily ever after” either. It’s one of those “I hate this”, “it’s not right”, “why did it happen like this?” stories that leave your sense of fairness completely unsatisfied. The reality is brutal, unfair and definitely not fun. The characters are either insane or quite close to insanity, but all of them are “normal” mid-class people. Sounds quite contradictory, isn't it? The mystery reveals itself painfully slow, but there is no urgency to skip through the pages to find out what would happen. The only thing you could do is to delay the last paragraph because the knowledge what would happen is already there. The book is not about Netherlands or Europe’s problems; it’s just staged in this part of the world. The problem discussed in the book is universal: “Am I a trembling creature, or have I the right?” And if I have the right, what is my right, then? The book raises a lot of questions, but doesn't give any answers. You should find yours.
Pick up the book, go through the pages and characters and put yourself into their shoes: What would you do to protect your loved one?

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maggielo
Aug 19, 2015

if u liked gone girl, 2 families, sons are friends and do a horrific act.

lorna2511 Sep 14, 2013

An engaging, comedic book - it reminds me of God of Carnage. Funny, shocking and quite dark too.

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Misscurly
Jan 06, 2014

Misscurly thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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