Monday, March 10, 2014

The Dinner by Herman Koch

I picked up The Dinner after hearing some positive reviews. At first I kept using the word awkward to describe The Dinner. So awkward. Then around halfway through it got a lot more interesting. By the end, I would describe The Dinner as awkward, frustrating, intense, and fascinating.

Paul narrates The Dinner. He's one half of a couple on their way to dinner. Paul and his wife, Claire, are meeting Serge and Babette for dinner. They are going to a trendy restaurant that Paul isn't interested in. In addition to being close with Serge and Babette, each couple has a son. These sons are close as well and have gotten themselves into some trouble. Part of the reason to meet for dinner is discuss their sons.

At the beginning, I felt there was a huge elephant in the room. Obviously something has happened but the couples discuss the latest movies and travel plans. And Paul has a tendency to talk about the past. Later it becomes clear as to why he does that but sometimes I felt it was disjointed. That also was on purpose. Paul is a very unreliable narrator. I would how different this book would have been if it had been told from another perspective.

Koch skewers everything from family life to organic food. In some cases I felt he was very right and sometimes it was pretty uncomfortable to read. I think this would be a great read for a book group. There is plenty to talk about! Overall I enjoyed The Dinner. I went in knowing very little and I think that enhanced my reading. Therefore, I'm trying not to give a lot away about the book. Others who shared their thoughts on The Dinner: The Well-Read Redhead, Between The Covers, That's What She Read, and You GOTTA Read This!.


  1. So many reviews of this book around at the moment. I think I need to read it!

  2. I really hope to get around to reading this one soon. I am a fan of awkward. lol :) Great review!


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