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The Dinner Audiobook

The Dinner: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

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 15-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.

©2009 Herman Koch; Translation © 2012 by Sam Garrett (P)2013 AudioGO

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (1987 )
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4.1 (1774 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Laura Fields Charlotte, NC 04-07-13
    Laura Fields Charlotte, NC 04-07-13 Member Since 2012

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unable to keep traction"
    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The story started out so great, with great foreshadowing; however, around the halfway point it got rather tedious and I found it really hard to care about what was being foreshadowed. The ending was okay, but the payoff I was hoping for was just not there.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 11-19-13
    Suzn F Fletcher, VT, US 11-19-13 Member Since 2013

    I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?

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    "Indigestion at the Dinner"

    Yes I'm in the minority, I just did not find anything redeeming about this book. The pace was too slow, the characters annoying, the plot uninteresting and none of it worth the wait. The indulgent author going on and on about the food just got on my last nerve. I not only want my credit back, but I wish I could have my time returned too. Ugh.

    35 of 45 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Attleboro, MA, USA 05-16-16
    Scott Attleboro, MA, USA 05-16-16 Member Since 2005
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    "Excellent story made even better by the narrator"

    Tremendous story. Darkly funny (very darkly), thought-provoking, and suspenseful. I read some so-so reviews of the book on Amazon, and I think Clive Mantle really helps make this story come to life, much more so than if I had just read the book myself. He really adds a depth to the character of Paul that made it so much more enjoyable. You can almost hear him sneer every time he uses his brother's name. Loved this audiobook. Can't recommend it highly enough.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David D Thomas Roseville, CA United States 11-06-15
    David D Thomas Roseville, CA United States 11-06-15 Member Since 2015
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    "The Characters You Love To Hate"

    I begin this book with a presupposition; that I would like the main character. You always like the main character , right? But as I invested time into this book, even before the secretes were revealed, I had a strong distaste for Peter. What a self-centered jerk, I found myself yelling.

    For that, I applaud the author and narrator. They did such a good job of it, I debated with myself weather or not I wanted to go on listening. I LIKE to like my main characters, to find some redeeming value in them. But the decisions made by these characters, I found absolutely appalling.

    So go on... Get immersed in the telling, but have your mouthwash ready to wash the lingering taste from your conscience.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betsy Georgitis Western US 04-16-13
    Betsy Georgitis Western US 04-16-13 Member Since 2012

    I enjoy a variety of books including mysteries, historical fiction as well as young adult and children's literature. Listening to books gives me the ability to "read" in the car as well as the evening as a nightcap before bed.

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    "Unpleasant but engaging characters"

    This book highlights family relationships during a time of extreme stress as well as how ethics and judgement come into play when crimes have been committed. I have to admit I was somewhat shocked by the reactions of many of the characters and wonder how the decisions they made can be justified . This novel is well written and engaging keeping you guessing until the end.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sam Riverside, RI, United States 03-18-13
    sam Riverside, RI, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "This was completely overrated"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I got this because it had been billed as a "European Gone Girl." It was not. It was badly written drivel. His supposedly brilliant descriptive passages dragged on and on. The characters (all of them) were completely detestable from the word go. At least with Gone Girl you start out liking the characters and then not liking them and ultimately kind of ambivalent. The author tried desperately to get us to like or at least some of the motivation for some of the things that happen but I never liked any of them.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Herman Koch and Sam Garrett (translator) again?

    Seems unlikely. The whole thing left me with a bad taste in my mouth and not just because of the events in the actual story. I can deal with dramatic horror. This just left me feeling manipulated.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Dinner?

    The whole first section in which he goes on ad nauseum about the food, the restaurant and the patrons.


    Any additional comments?

    I think the narrator tried to add extra "drama" by slowing down his reading when things were supposed to feel "suspenseful." It was more annoying than effective.

    I finished this book because I "paid" for it with one of my credits. But I would suggest saving credits for something more worthwhile.

    22 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    lisa San Francisco, CA, United States 12-13-13
    lisa San Francisco, CA, United States 12-13-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Why even write this?"
    What disappointed you about The Dinner?

    The underlying message here was just too depressing and demoralizing. There was *nothing* redeeming about this story. Ugh. I have no idea what the hype is all about... why even spend the time writing such a tale?


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Don't know yet... I do appreciate dark stories and the like, but this was just too much. There is absolutely no up-side to this story.


    What about Clive Mantle’s performance did you like?

    Excellent performance! Clive Mantle did a fabulous job narrating and was the only reason I listened to the whole book.


    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvette H Nevada 12-22-15
    Yvette H Nevada 12-22-15 Member Since 2015
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    "I was captivated"

    It's starts off simple enough...and then it spirals. The story was difficult to put down.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Ellyn 09-02-15 Member Since 2014
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    "I read this because I had to..."
    Any additional comments?

    The book description sounded good. I started listening. Then I had to listen, because I kept thinking, "No". The story would not let me put it down, even though I kept thinking this is droning on and on. I had to know the story. I had to know the ending.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 04-19-14
    SamanthaG Marietta GA 04-19-14 Member Since 2010

    SamanthaG

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    "A very strange book"

    When I began listening, the book was hilarious. Lots of sarcastic put-downs of pretentious people and a restaurant. I thought I was in for a funny ride. But the book does turn dark...very dark. We discover things about the characters that we didn't suspect. Many things. Getting pertinent information out of the main character and narrator is like pulling teeth - very frustrating but effective. He tells us many times of things he thought of saying in a particular situation....but then he didn't say them. We gradually learn many very relevant tidbits that we wouldn't have suspected that add to the development of the story. An interesting read, but I which Koch had stuck to funny.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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