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February 2013 Indie Next List
“In this brilliant novel, two brothers and their wives meet for dinner in an upscale restaurant. Structured around the courses of the meal and narrated by Paul, what starts out in the first section -- Aperitif -- as a hilarious riff on the pretentious meal that he is reluctantly sharing with his brother, Serge, takes on an increasingly ominous tone as the reason for the meeting gradually unfolds. Psychologically taut and beautifully constructed, this tale hooks the reader from the first page to the hair-raising conclusion. A literary page-turner that explores the lengths to which families will go to protect their own.”
— Sheila Daley, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT
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 shows 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.
About the Author
Herman Koch, born in 1953, is a Dutch actor and writer. He studied at the Montessori Lyceum before finishing his schooling in Russia. Koch is a renowned television actor on the series "Jiskefet" and a columnist for the newspaper "Volkskrant. The Dinner" is his sixth novel and has already won the prestigious Publieksprijs Prize in 2009. Koch currently lives in Spain.