Book review: The Dinner

The Dinner - Herman KochI had never heard of Herman Koch’s novel The Dinner before picking it up in a bookstore.

I admit I was attracted by the cover and the interesting back cover description, and I’m so happy I took a chance on this novel, since I was very quickly engrossed in this disturbing tale.

Originally published in Dutch, this novel takes place in Holland and the entire novel unfolds during a dinner at a chic Amsterdam restaurant.

Two couples meet for dinner, to discuss a horrific incident that  involved their sons. Only the four adults are aware that the grainy CCTV images of  a brutal crime depict their own children, and they must determine what should be done about this knowledge.

I love how this story is crafted, with the events taking place in a single evening, but unfolding leisurely through flashbacks and background that slowly begin to make sense to the reader.

The unhurried unfolding of the story as course after course arrives at the table works perfectly. As readers, we feel a growing sense of unease as each new piece of information is presented to us and we reevaluate our impressions. An excellent and highly disturbing novel.


  1. Chris Galvin on May 6, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Someone recently recommended this book to me. And now here’s a review. The disturbing aspect puts me off a bit, but it does sound intriguing.

  2. kimberlysullivan on May 8, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Highly recommend it, Chris. Apparently there’s also a film, but I hate when they take a nice book with a great sense of setting in another country and then simply shift it to Manhattan- with Richard Gere and Laura Linney, my money’s on that scenario, but I hope I’m wrong. But do read it!

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