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The Dinner Paperback – 1 Aug 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 404 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848873824
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848873827
  • Product Dimensions: 14.8 x 2.2 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (404 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Perfect… Terrifying --Financial Times

The talking point of the summer --Sunday Times

A family drama replete with surprises, so it is important not to give away too much of the plot here. It is enough to say that Mr Koch seizes his readers by the ear, and with a sharp pinch pulls their sympathies this way and that... Proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world... The reader does not rise from his table happy and replete so much as stand up suddenly, pale and reeling. Bored with Fifty Shades of Grey and all that brouhaha? Read The Dinner - and taste the shock. --The Economist

Review

'Perfect ... Terrifying.' (The Financial Times)

'The talking point of the summer.' (The Sunday Times)

'A family drama replete with surprises, so it is important not to give away too much of the plot here. It is enough to say that Mr Koch seizes his [listeners] by the ear, and with a sharp pinch pulls their sympathies this way and that ... Proves how powerful fiction can be in illuminating the modern world ... The [listener] does not rise from his table happy and replete so much as stand up suddenly, pale and reeling. Bored with Fifty Shades of Grey and all that brouhaha? [lListen to] The Dinner – and taste the shock.' (The Economist) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
On an evening in Amsterdam a couple approaches a restaurant, intending to meet another couple for dinner. The couple, our narrator Paul, and his wife Claire, seem a bit distracted and apprehensive about the evening. We soon learn that they are meeting for dinner with the Lohmans - who turn out to be Paul's brother Serge, and his wife Babette. Serge is a very successful politician, who inevitably draws many stares and whispers from the other diners in the restaurant. Paul doesn't seem to like his brother Serge, so why are they meeting for dinner? It soon emerges that they are there to discuss their teenage sons, who have committed a terrible crime...

The Dinner is truly unlike anything I have ever read before, but in a good way. I was intrigued by the description but as soon as I started reading I immediately got the impression that all was not as it seemed, and so I was drawn into the story, keen to know more.

The book takes place over the span of one evening, more specifically, the dinner that the two couples are attending. The novel is split into `courses', with each section of the book relating to a certain course in the meal. I really loved this idea, because as the courses progressed, a little more of the story was unravelled and the reader could digest this the way they would a meal. I was very curious to see how Herman could keep up an entire book over the course of one dinner, but he did it and it worked! Our narrator Paul takes us through his thought processes, from what he thinks of his brother, to the actual dinner and how it seems to be more of a performance with the waiter pointing out the finer details of the food, to the revelation of what their sons have done.
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Format: Paperback
A summer’s evening in Amsterdam. Two couples meet at a restaurant. They talk about what couples do, but beside the seemingly normal and rather cosy chit chat there is utter anguish at despair at what their teenage sons have done.

Their children, their flesh and blood have committed a horrifying act. To make matters worse, they have been caught on camera, grainy CCTV images – despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents.

Asthe parents tuck into their starters, they have to decide what to do. Who really is to blame?

Apart from the setting in a unknown restaurant in Amsterdam, the sense of place is rather that of Dutch society and the role of parents and the portrayal of family life. You won’t like the people in the novel and in fact as I did, you will probably utterly despise them - Paul in particular who as the main narrator has a lot to say for himself about politicians, the state of the world etc etc but whether you can or should believe him is another matter entirely.

The structure of the novel – the serving of each course and the tasting of the various flavours suited this plot perfectly – the pretentiousness of the restaurant staff and the snobbery apparent is pitch perfect

The characters may be hateful yet a good story doesn’t necessarily have to have likable ones to be interesting – and these certainly are multilayered and very complex characters. Paul Lohman is also very dark and as for his brother Serge? Brrrr

Dark secrets in bourgeois families are definitely on the menu -and that’s just for starters – for the main course there is the preoccupation with appearances, and for desert – hiding the skeletons hidden in the closet.
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By prisrob TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 April 2013
Format: Paperback
Holland is such a peaceful country, full of windmills and water, and the city, Amsterdam. Now, we find ourselves in Amsterdam, but the country, the city is beside the fact. What we have here is a dilemma. A family dilemma, a personal dilemma , unlike anything you want for your family.

Paul Lohman is the narrator of his family's dilemma. He is a retired history teacher, a violent man who is told he has a neurological disease and must take medication to control his behavior. Paul is unable to tell us the disease, it is too personal. His wife, Claire had some sort of disease that required hospitalizations and repeat surgeries, but to protect her privacy he cannot tell us what disease or what hospital. Very strange, but as the narration goes on, little bits fall together. Paul and Claire's son, Michel, we find, has committed a terrible crime. Both Paul and Claire find out about the crime separately, and neither speaks about it to each other nor to anyone but Michel. It is another one of those secrets.

Serge Lohman, Paul's brother, a well known politician, campaigning to be Prime Minister, asks them to dinner to discuss something important to the family. Throughout five courses in a very luxurious retaurant,everything is discussed but the matter at hand. Babette, Serge's wife is upset, old tears in the corner of her eyes. Old resentments bubble up, long ago hurts and family issues never discussed lie right at the surface. Tensions rise, words are spoken, eyes gravitate towards Serge, the famous one. The issue is discussed, Michel and Serge's son, Rick, committed a crime and now, decisions must be made.

To what lengths would you go to protect your child, his life, your life, your reputation? Deep issues, that require careful thought and examination.
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