The Dinner by Herman Koch

Publication Date: February 12th, 2013

“An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives — all over the course of one meal.

It’s a summer’s evening in Amsterdam, and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant for dinner. Between mouthfuls of food and over the polite scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse — the banality of work, the triviality of the holidays. But behind the empty words, terrible things need to be said, and with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened.

Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. The two boys are united by their accountability for a single horrific act; an act that has triggered a police investigation and shattered the comfortable, insulated worlds of their families. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children. As civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple show just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

Tautly written, incredibly gripping, and told by an unforgettable narrator, The Dinner promises to be the topic of countless dinner party debates. Skewering everything from parenting values to pretentious menus to political convictions, this novel reveals the dark side of genteel society and asks what each of us would do in the face of unimaginable tragedy”


When reading the synopsis of this book, I thought wow. I thought it sounded really intriguing and would grab my attention right away. I kept this book in the back of my mind until I found out that it was apparently being made in to a movie. I just had to read it. I’m very disappointed to say that this will go down in history as one of my books that I rated under 3 stars. I rarely ever do that, and I hate doing it. However, I feel like this book really deserved this rating.

There were multiple times where I wanted to stop this book. It was very dry, and some people like that, but this really had trouble holding my attention throughout a lot of the book. It was very slow, and I understand trying to give the reader some anticipation for something big, I just feel like that never came. It was a bit predictable.

However, this book did show something that I do see a lot around me, and that is how far parents will go to protect their children. What they will do and how they will do it. The parents in this book were interesting, but I wish I could say that I liked them or related to them.

I wish I really enjoyed this book, but a book with this dry of a narrator and how much it interested me was just not in the cards unfortunately.

Rating: ★★

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