Monday, February 25, 2013


The DinnerThe Dinner by Herman Koch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The Dinner, the sixth novel by award-winning Dutch author Herman Koch and already a bestseller in Europe, arrives in the U.S. with an excellent translation and great deal of well-deserved advance praise. A slow burn creeper, this suspenseful and unsettling novel turns a microscope on parenthood, examining the darkness that may lie just below the thin veneer of civilization, social grace and propriety."

Bottom Line: If you loved Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, like I did, you will devour this psychological thriller.

A few years ago I discovered Page & Palette in Fairhope, Alabama and fell in love. That was before every new bookstore in my community closed. (We do have an extensive used book store.) Now when I visit each year, I stop in to see what I am missing. It's exciting to be able to see wonderful books no matter where you cast your eyes.

I was looking for just one special book to purchase. What would I choose? I actually had another book in my hand when I turned around and spotted a display featuring a Wall Street Journal article and The Dinner. It wouldn't ordinarily have been my choice, but I decided to trust this wonderful bookstore and I am so glad I did. (Of course, it didn't hurt that there were comments from Scott Smith, Gillian Flynn, and S.J.Watson on the cover.)

Unfortunately, like Gone Girl, this is a book you need to discover and too much discussion of the story will ruin the experience. I can tell you that it takes place at an expensive restaurant on a single evening where two brothers and their wives are having dinner to discuss their children. If you are a theater goer, you may suppose this will be like Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage. It's not. And like Gone Girl, wherever you think the story is going, it isn't.
Not all literary translations are worthy of the story they tell, but Sam Garrett's work is seamless.

I paid $24.00 plus $2.16 in tax versus purchasing this book from Amazon for $14.31 plus shipping costs (or not) for the same hard back edition, but in exchange I had a lovely conversation with one of the staff and that was worth the difference in price to me.

If you aren't willing to trust my recommendation, check out this unusual way of sharing the excitement of discovering The Dinner.

Disclaimer: I made a resolution for 2013 to visit independent bookstores, buy a book, read it, and blog about the bookstore.

Title: The Dinner
Author: Herman Koch
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Hogarth
No. of Pages: 304 pages
Copyright: February 12, 2013
ISBN: 0770437850
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Page & Pallette, Fairhope, Alabama

Herman Koch, a Dutch actor as well as writer, is the author of seven novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, has been published in 25 countries, and was the winner of the Publieksprijs Prize in 2009. He currently lives in Amsterdam. 

View all my reviews


  1. And now I see that Cate Blanchett is making her directorial debut filming THE DINNER.

  2. Sounds great. I'm putting it on my list!