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
So incredibly surprising. The main characters thoughts as the evening progressed were so engaging. Such a fun and intriguing listen, and yet somewhat disturbing. Overall, not to be missed!
Fantastic, even though he had the wrong accent for the nationality of the characters. He did a great job of all the characters without any annoying voices, such as the wimpy or false falsetto than many male narrators use to do a woman!s voice. I thought he portrayed the main character perfectly.
This book is so worth a credit. I love a different and engaging listen!
The interweaving's of courses of a "gourmet" meal with the dark secrets of a political family while looking for a "Happy family" is a unique story. The tale has lots of humour, suspense, and insights into the issues of life in the struggles of prejudice in European countries today.
It dragged on and on, I couldn't wait for the book to get done. I couldn't stand any of the characters, especially Paul, everything he said annoyed me. Explaining the details of his goat cheese appetizer yet saying "I won't mention..." about anything that would actually be important or interesting. What a worthless waste of 9 hours of my time.
While there are some elements of The Dinner that strain credibility, the current reviewer must confess to being absolutely glued to this audiobook from beginning to end. The organization of the plot into parts corresponding to the five courses of a meal--aperitif, appetizer, main course, dessert, and digestif--is a conceit worth studying. The narrative voice of the protagonist, Peter Lohman, moves in a gradual progression from delightfully cynical to downright sinister. Yet it is the performance of that voice that earns the highest accolade. Clive Mantle excels at conveying every nuance of the narration; he earns, as Peter Lohman, the critical trust needed to make this unreliable narrator into a flesh-and-bones charmer who delights his audience until the final line. This book is highly recommended.
I think something is lost in translation at the "twist" ending.
I found the characters to be irredeemable. This may be the idea but I didn't care for it. It is difficult to believe that these characters would interact in this way, or go about life the way it is written.
Haunting and incredibly insightful. This was a new twist on the unreliable narrator--and in his telling of the story, and his indefatigable effort to remain "the good guy," his flaws are both subtle and remarkable. This novel is not for the impatient, the thoughtless, or the faint of heart.
Claire. They are hers and she will do what she has to do...
Possibly....with the boys, years later? How did this event affect/change their lives?
It's an interesting subject... What do you do if your child does the unthinkable? Do you protect them? How does the event and how it is handled affect the rest of their lives? Can they live with it?
Probably not simply because it is 8 and a half hours long! Life is too short.
Originality. Plot twists unexpected.
The protagonist, Paul.
That is tough because the Dinner is such a great title for this story. I would not rename it.
If there were an academy awards of narration, this narrator would win an Oscar. He did an amazing job.
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