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Publisher's Summary

The tour-de-force, hair-raising new novel from Herman Koch, New York Times bestselling author of The Dinner and Summer House with Swimming Pool.

Once a celebrated writer, M's greatest success came with a suspense novel based on a real-life, unsolved disappearance. It told the story of a history teacher who went missing one winter after his brief affair with a stunning pupil. Upon publication, M.'s novel was a bestseller, one that marked his international breakthrough.

That was years ago, and now M.'s career is almost over as he fades increasingly into obscurity. But not when it comes to his bizarre, seemingly timid neighbor who keeps a close eye on him. Why?

From various perspectives, Herman Koch tells the dark tale of a writer in decline, a teenage couple in love, a missing teacher, and a single book that entwines all of their fates. Thanks to M's novel, supposedly a work of fiction, everyone seems to be linked forever, until something unexpected spins the "story" off its rails.

With racing tension, sardonic wit, and a world-renowned sharp eye for human failings, Herman Koch once again spares nothing and no one in his gripping new novel, a barbed tour de force suspending listeners in the mysterious literary gray space between fact and fiction.

©2014 Herman Koch. (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved. Originally published in Dutch in the Netherlands as Geachte heer M. by Ambo Anthos, Amsterdam, in 2014. Translation © 2016 Sam Garrett. Grateful acknowledgment is made to Charlie MacPherson for permission to reprint an excerpt from The Black Box by Malcolm MacPherson, © 1998 by Malcolm MacPherson. Used by permission.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book

Enjoyed every minute of this story- (almost)- hoping for a slightly better ending but still amazing with endless twists and surprises . I don't think I've listened to a better narrator - his performance brought every character to life . Don't miss it!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Koch pulls this one out!

I like me some Koch.

Stories within stories wrapped around alternating narrators and timelines. Holy crap. Wtf is going on around here. I didn’t even know what happening until I was well over half way in and then I only had a hint of what was really happening. Oh yeah. And then I was wrong.

The storytelling perspectives were jarring at first and took me a while to get into the groove, but the strong writing kept me moving on. Even when there was (seemingly) nothing going on I was still glued to the pages.

I don’t know how Koch pulled this one out. It should have been a complete cluster.

Yes, it could have used a minor haircut here and there. Yes, I got confused more than once. Yes, it was all over the place at times. And…Yes, it all came together and was a very good (what was this?) thriller, mystery, satire, suspense…all of the above? Doesn’t matter. It’s good. Real good.

If you haven’t had some Koch lately, I suggest you get on it. Go get you some Koch.

4.5+ Stars!

P.S. I did not mention the narrator who was brilliant. The tone, pacing, cadence. Everything. It was all spot on and after a while of listening I was so into the story I forgot I was listening to it and was 100% into the story. I don't think there is a better compliment for a narrator than that. Luke Daniels nails this one for sure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing. Unlike other books by author.

What would have made Dear Mr. M better?

Better characters and story. This work was nearly one dimensional and drawn out.

What could Herman Koch have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Different plot development.

Which character – as performed by Luke Daniels – was your favorite?

None really.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Surprise that it never really took off and was so hard to continue listening to the book. I ended up not finishing the book after trying to give it a chance for a few chapters.

Any additional comments?

I liked listening to this author's other two available books. But, not this one.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

interesting but long.

story comes together the last 20 minutes. too much on high school sexual escapades and inner thoughts.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

What was the point?

Terrible plot. Many of the characters were supposed to be living in Europe, but the writer obviously isn't. Too many idioms and other details that made it unbelievable. Shoddy story telling and relied heavily on stereotypes. The "twist" wasn't even a good twist. The performance was decent and that's the best I can say.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Unpleasant but interesting

There are long stretches of tiresome examination of being a writer, but interesting cynical introspection, albeit misanthropic.

The narrator conveyed the aura of cynical, misanthropic ennui, and at times it became irritating.

There is more to this novel than a story. It may take time to digest and figure out what.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Very different, ultimately kind of boring

There are things to like about this story. The translation is fluid, the writing is clear and, as a mystery, fair to the reader. The characters are well-developed and multi-dimensional. It gets bogged down in details of the student's lives. There is a whole long part about a Fall trip and a new girl that goes on forever. I found myself losing the thread of the plot. Maybe it's not a good audio book? Like Daniels, the reader, is great. I would look for his name when choosing another audio book. This is standard Herman Koch fare. I preferred an earlier book - The Dinner.