Title: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
Page Count: 292
Publication: February 12th, 2013
Source: Received book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review
“A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.”
I thought I was going to enjoy this novel, I really did. I confess — I labeled this one as DNF (read: 21%) (my second & last DNF of the year)
Okay, so before I go into my negative thoughts of this novel, I do think I should say the positive aspects first. Firstly, the cover is intriguing. I thought it was very unique and it looks like something I’ve never seen before. The synopsis sounded interesting as well, but unfortunately I don’t think it did justice in regards to what I did read. This part of the synopsis, “Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation,” was what I was most interested in but I didn’t get to get to that part because I couldn’t proceed past the beginning, and that is very unfortunate. I did enjoy the somewhat informal writing style — it was what kind of helped me continue reading for how long I did.
And now onto the negatives. For me, the first thing I have to enjoy or even have in a novel in order to complete it is a connection with the main character. Or in this case, ANY character. I had no connection with any character whatsoever. I don’t know if it’s because they were adults and I’m only a teen, or if I am just overly weird. But if I can’t relate or sympathize with the narrator or main character, then I will feel distant from the text. And that’s exactly what I was. I REALLY wanted to continue reading this novel because of the alternating reviews on Goodreads. Some people say it’s a “European Gone Girl” and I really liked Gone Girl. But when the beginning of a novel is slow and there’s a mini-me inside my head saying, “hey, what are you doing? You have other novels to read too!”, it doesn’t help, haha. But I will give the author some credit for the unique writing style.
However even though I did not enjoy this novel at this time of year, I am considering reading it again sometime next year when I feel like giving it another try. I know there are some other good aspects of this novel, and I truly want to get there. But at this time, I don’t think I would do the novel & the author justice if I skimmed the pages and gave a half-assed review.
So what’s my rating?
I gave Herman Koch’s, The Dinner, a…
2 out of 5 stars
Let me know down below your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this novel!
Thanks for reading & I’ll see you next time…