NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The darkly suspenseful tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives—all over the course of one meal. Now a major motion picture.
“Chilling, nasty, smart, shocking, and unputdownable.”—Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
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 scrapings of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of polite discourse. 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, and as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
“A European Gone Girl . . . A sly psychological thriller.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Brilliantly engineered . . . The novel is designed to make you think twice, then thrice, not only about what goes on within its pages, but also the next time indignation rises up, pure and fiery, in your own heart.”—Salon
“You’ll eat it up, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”—Entertainment Weekly
“[Koch] has created a clever, dark confection . . . absorbing and highly readable.”—New York Times Book Review
“Tongue-in-cheek page-turner.”—The Washington Post
“[A] deliciously Mr. Ripley-esque drama.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Herman Koch's incendiary novel starts at a slow burn, but things heat up quickly as the titular meal progresses. Four dinner guests reveal unsavory truths about themselves and their shared pasts, eventually exposing a terrible truth about their beloved children. Dutch author Koch is known for his darkly comic takedowns of human nature. He’s at his sinister best here—The Dinner is an ominous family drama that reads like a blockbuster whodunnit.
This chilling novel starts out as a witty look at contemporary manners in the style of Yasmina Reza s God of Carnage before turning into a take-no-prisoners psychological thriller. The Lohman brothers, unemployed teacher Paul and politician Serge, a candidate for prime minister, meet at an expensive Amsterdam restaurant, along with their respective spouses, Claire and Babette, to discuss a situation involving their respective 15-year-old sons, Michel and Rick. At first, the two couples discuss such pleasantries as wine and the new Woody Allen film. But during this five-course dinner, from aperitif to digestif, secrets come out that threaten relations between the two families. To say much more would spoil the breathtaking twists and turns of the plot, which slowly strips away layers of civility to expose the primal depths of supposedly model citizens, not to mention one character s past history of mental illness and violence. With dark humor, Koch dramatizes the lengths to which people will go to preserve a comfortable way of life. Despite a few too-convenient contrivances, this is a cunningly crafted thriller that will never allow you to look at a serviette in the same way again.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I read this book based on a review in a magazine. Although it is written amazingly and keeps you interested, you never find out the endings to some pivotal moments. If you like books that tell the history, then jump back to the present, and how family dynamics are all apart of that you will enjoy. Even thoughtful was originally written about a Dutch family, one being a high powered politician, it's still resonates about every family dynamic all over the world.
Quick Read, engaging
Enjoyed this book,sometimes it seemed to ramble about unnecessary details. Makes you stop and think about how you would react to the same situations. Characters were believable but sometimes their actions not so much. Downloaded and finished it in one day.
Absolutely fascinating and controversial. The narrator is compelling and tells an excellent story. Couldn't put it down. Read it in 2 days.