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
It was confusing at times since the story goes back and forth between past, present and future. I think it was a good story, though a little slow and rambling at times. But I hate the ending. I really wanted to know what happened next.
I'm not fond of tons of details to the point of getting lost in them. Not to say this book did that but their were times when I got lost. Not sure if I appreciated the direction this story took.
This book rocked! The narrator was so terrific. The story was engaging and suspenseful. You really dove into the characters easily and quickly. It was fascinating really. You felt sorry for and hated each character at some point....LOVED IT!
I didn't read the print version. But I was so captivated by the narration that I was not tempted to switch to the print version.
The characters were so richly developed, even the ones who were in the background. There is a mystery that is developed slowly and even in the end, your imagination is called into play as to how it all ends up. I kept thinking about what I would do if I were in Paul's situation. He is really caught between love of his wife and son and doing what he knows is right. The story was so riveting that I found myself bringing my phone (my listening device) into the house from the car when I returned from my drives. (I listen while commuting.) I didn't want the story to end.
Dessert! the descriptions of each dessert made me want to try a bite of each. In the meantime, the story and mystery has been revealed and you are left anticipating the unfolding of the consequences.
The name is perfect. The whole meal drives the story.
I loved the narration. The narrator used anger, sorrow, greed, rancor, love,and many more emotions to get his point across. I would love to see this made into a play. It would be riveting if one could pare down the story to a 2-3 hour setting.
The whole story takes place over dinner, so I understand the need to explanatory flash backs. Perhaps it was just a slow performance, but the story really seemed to draaaaag. And I still have unanswered questions. I suppose I'd recommend it, but not emphatically.
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.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.