Absolutely. But I don't understand the comparisons to Gone Girl. This book was ten times better and much more realistic. You could actually put yourselves in the characters shoes and ask yourself what you would do
When Paul is called to the principle's office.
This was hands down the best narration of any audiobook I've ever listened too.
I listen to audio books while driving or doing things and then switch to the e book when I can sit down to read since its much faster to actually read it yourself. In this case I stopped reading and merely listened. The narration was perfection.
If you're looking for action/adventure/thriller this isn't the book for you. This is a people book. What do people do? What would I do? What in the world were they thinking? Reading this book you will know what at least one person was thinking, but you may never know exactly why he thought that way. I will think and wonder about the characters in this book for a long time.
I think I missed the meeting when my book club chose this book, so I had absolutely no idea what it was about when I downloaded it into my phone and began to listen. Within a few sentences, I found myself laughing out loud. I don’t know if a person reading the book would get as much of the snarky humor inherent in this book (particularly the beginning) but it definitely comes across in the audio version as expertly brought alive by Clive Mantle. Just the way Mantle pronounces “Serrrrrrge” with a heavy, sardonic emphasis on the “r” made me laugh every time. And don’t get me started on the scene in the men’s room—hysterical!
The beginning chapters are a bitingly droll commentary on upper middle class life in the early 21st century. I absolutely howled with laughter at the descriptions of the pretentious restaurant, the self-important maître d’ (and his pinky!) and the ostentatiously named food. Side trips into the protagonist’s memories were also—at first—amusing, particularly the passage about the garden party.
Which brings me to another thing I loved about this book: the way the author described things. Like the woman at the garden party with a “voice like the sweetener in Diet Coke.” I also really liked it when the author described something and then wrote something along the lines of “well, no . . . it wasn’t exactly like that . . . it was more like . . .” and then went on to give a fantastic simile that left no doubt what he had in mind. In chapter 15 he gives three different descriptions of Serge’s face, each one more telling than the last: “like a new car that got its first scratch,” “like a cartoon whose chair has been kicked out from under him,” and finally “if he wore that face asking people to vote for him, no one would give him a second look.”
There is much, much more to this book, and once the action starts to heat up the comedy is replaced by a chilling look behind the scenes of these “normal” lives. Societal issues including racism, homelessness, parenting, violence and morality are presented as I have seldom encountered them before in a novel. The end . . . well, I don’t want to give anything away, but it was sort of like in the Road Runner when the coyote realizes the cliff has dropped out from under him. A great listen!
mind twisting and amusing
best thing is that you can't compare it....it is so fresh and unexpected
he has just the right tone and attitude....I don't know if it would have had the same witty irony without him
couldn't wait to get back to it
The Dinner is perplexing and funny in the most disturbing way.....never a dull passage....nothing like it out there....and performed just right;.
I'm a mom of a busy 10 year old daughter, manage a demanding career and depending on my morning read during my commute to improve my happiness!
This book takes place over a dinner hosted by a famous politician for his wife, brother and sister-in-law. It's narrated from the brother's point of view. The family keeps up pretensions all while a dark secret slowly emerges over the course of the evening. It has some humor, it's well written, the narrator is good, and the plot is unique and fresh, but it was just not that entertaining or thought provoking.
I enjoyed this audio book a lot compared to my other reads. It is narrated brilliantly allowing the reader to feel intimately apart of the conversations going on the main characters head. He is an unreliable narrator, at best, of this deep and often laughable tale.
I liked that there were no redeemable characters in the whole novel, just a few by-standers who get sucked into the family tornado that passes through the restaurant that night.
Unbelievably, the story takes place in a single location but the narrator takes you in his mind to the events leading up to The Dinner.
He was able to portray the book narrator in a way that I felt I was actually in the main character's mixed up flawed brain. Mr. Mantle is successful with "being" the flawed unreliable narrator of the book.
I highly recommend this book in audio format for that reason alone. From reading reviews I felt the story was "experienced" in a unique fashion that might have been lost in another format.
I believe the events leading up to the end were essential. Without ruining the experience, keeping an open mind while reading is important as the tale takes twists and turns that I never expected.
This book is definitely not for those easily offended by foul language and grotesque psychological tales in which you have more questions after reading it than before.
A great Book Club read! So much you will want to discuss!
This was a novel of beautifully slow pacing. A husband and wife out to a painfully slow, grotesquely upscale dinner which they admit dreading from the morning of. The drinks, the appetizers, the meal, the desserts, and all the life in between. The novel matched the meal in time – dragging in a way that was purposeful and neat. The lines that finished each chapter were crisp and the chapters themselves were timed beautifully, each chapter ending with a cut that left an absence, a statement in itself with the words unsaid.
I listened to the audio version of this book, narrated by Clive Mantel, and he took the time with the story that it deserved. Each time he spat out the family name I felt all the emotions boiled up underneath “Lohman”, I heard the contempt broiling up in way that is hard to do in a narration without sounding overdone.
I was surprised to read other reviews that compared this to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Every book I’ve read since Gone Girl has been published, there’s a required comparison. I don’t see too many similarities. I would compare this to the film There Will Be Blood by Paul Thomas Anderson, for its slow crawl through the story, and its emphasis on family, social expectations, and violence. Or another comparison here, without giving too much away of either book, would be to Defending Jacob by William Landay.
I loved this book and it helped me get through several loads of laundry and many commutes. If you dislike a book that drifts before it reaches its conclusion, however, I’d skip it.
English major. Love to read
There are so many levels in this book and Koch is masterful at slowly ridding us of our assumptions so that, in the end, we are left startled and wonderfully surprised as to what just happened to us. The story is not only hard to put down as a kind of thriller, but it leaves us with important lingering questions about our own platforms we are so sure are solid. It is not a long book, it is beautifully written, wonderfully narrated and left me shaking my head with both awe and delight. I wanted to read it again - and I will -- but for the first time!
I did NOT read the summary or any descriptions about the plot in advance, just listened to the book so had NO idea about where the story was taking me which made it an awesome, shocking and gripping adventure. I think the narrator did an amazing job, not sure if he is the reason, or the book itself is the reason it is by far my favorite listen so far.
He IS the character, amazing work and talent!!!
None for me thanks!
I heart audiobooks! Best way to "read"!
I hated this book. The reason it gets 2 stars is the performance by Clive Mantle is terrific. He manages to breathe life into what is otherwise a long, dull, and less-than-thrilling thriller where I was both confused and annoyed. The action takes place over one evening, with plenty (and I mean PLENTY) of rambling flashbacks. Two couples -- brothers and their wives -- meet for dinner to discuss their sons who have done something awful. BTW, that "something awful" is revealed pretty early on. There is no mystery here. The only issue being wrestled with at dinner is what to do about the boys' heinous acts. It's thoroughly unbelievable that anyone would be discussing such a private and dire situation in a crowded restaurant, especially since one of the brothers is a famous politician. SPOILER ALERT: the lead brother turns out to be some sort of sociopath with a history of violent assault, and yet is free to walk around and have dinner at a 5 star restaurant. He admits he hasn't worked in years. How does he support himself, much less not be in JAIL for his own crimes? Then there is a Lady MacBeth turn at the end with his wife that felt like a complete cheat. No idea why this got such good reviews in PEOPLE MAGAZINE, etc. Save your money and spend it somewhere else.