What did you have for dinner last night? Who did you eat with? What did you discuss? I’m betting it wasn’t nearly as intense as the characters in Herman Koch’s The Dinner. This book came onto my radar when my two lovely colleagues came into the office and said “READ THIS BOOK. We can’t tell you anything about this book until you read it”. So I read it and I feel the exact same way that they do. Finding a way to rave about this book without revealing too much about the plot is a real dilemma when you operate a book blog though. That being said, I’m going to try to give you the bare bones so I don’t reveal too much, but make you want to go out to your local bookstore and pick up a copy to read immediately!
This is the story of two couples, one dinner and a very big decision to be made. This story is told from the point of Paul, a man who loves his wife and child, but doesn’t really have much time for anyone else. Society aggravates him like no other and at the drop of a hat, he loses it. This behaviour has been a common theme in his professional life and affects his day to day activities. Even the waiter drives him nuts! When it is revealed that their sons are involved in something so horrific (I cringed when I read what happened) trying to create a consecutive decision can be a difficult task if people can’t see eye to eye. Over the course of the dinner, conversations are had, things are revealed and tension is increased.
Every time I turned the page, I didn’t know what to expect. Which makes for the best kind of books, don’t you think? Herman Koch takes you on a real life roller coaster. You’re up, you’re down and you don’t know who to believe or who to trust. All that being said, I couldn’t stand Paul. I found him an angry, mean man but I needed to know where he was going and why he acted the way he did throughout the novel. In a lot of ways I found that my dislike for Paul gave the novel more context, it made me look beyond his personality and find the deeper meaning.
This is one book that you’re not going to want to put down. I was so engrossed in it that I read until 12:30am one night, which is always a good sign! I ensure you that if you decide to pick this one up, you will not be disappointed.