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
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.
No for the author. Perhaps for the narrator.
What exactly is this genre? But no. I choose each book on it's own merits despite genre.
Maybe in the end but after two hours and 45 minutes I just couldn't listen any longer.
This book was so boring and drawn out. I thought the story line was interesting so I tried to stick with it hoping it would get better. I wish I would have read all of the reviews instead of just the first few. Lesson learned!
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.
Say something about yourself!
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.
The narrator was fabulous, loved his voice and could have listened to him for days, in fact, because of his voice I listened longer that I would normally.
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.
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.
The whole first section in which he goes on ad nauseum about the food, the restaurant and the patrons.
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.
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?
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.
Excellent performance! Clive Mantle did a fabulous job narrating and was the only reason I listened to the whole book.
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.
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.
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.
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