We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Dinner Audiobook

The Dinner: A Novel

Regular Price:$18.17
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

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 (2375 )
5 star
 (535)
4 star
 (807)
3 star
 (644)
2 star
 (244)
1 star
 (145)
Overall
3.4 (2141 )
5 star
 (461)
4 star
 (671)
3 star
 (557)
2 star
 (269)
1 star
 (183)
Story
4.1 (2129 )
5 star
 (914)
4 star
 (708)
3 star
 (346)
2 star
 (86)
1 star
 (75)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    David D Thomas Roseville, CA United States 11-06-15
    David D Thomas Roseville, CA United States 11-06-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    42
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    37
    9
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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. <br/><br/>I finished this book because I "paid" for it with one of my credits. But I would suggest saving credits for something more worthwhile.

    23 of 30 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
    HELPFUL VOTES
    53
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    SRuss 12-07-13
    SRuss 12-07-13 Member Since 2008

    I love books and animals.I enjoy all sorts of genres, anything from history to supernatural.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    294
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    215
    96
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    31
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting concept, yet a miss for me"

    This was an interesting book, however a few things held it back in my opinion.

    The best aspect:
    -I enjoyed the unreliable narrator, this gave the first person point-of-view credibility. This also gave the main character Paul, credibility.
    -The author does a good job of giving the reader details of the world and it's characters. The character fixates on details that create interesting scenes in our imaginations.
    -The narrator did a great job reading this book. I enjoyed his voices, accent, and inflections.

    The worst aspect:
    -We slowly see this family unravel, too slowly. The entire book literally takes place during one dinner. There are flashback to feed us information, but the constraint of one evening is tedious.
    -A little confusing. Even though the entire book is essentially this one evening, I found myself lost in the timeline with all the flashbacks.

    Overall, if you want to try something different, read this. It is an interesting book, there are great descriptions and dialogue. However, if you are like me, you might find yourself annoyed with the tedious aspect of spending nearly nine hours with this family during this meal. Although, I think the author did this intentionally to create restlessness in the reader so we understand the main characters feelings.

    I have seen many reviews comparing this to Gillian Flynn's work of Gone Girl, I do not see it. The pacing and development of Gone Girl was much faster and interesting than this book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kel Eis 01-24-17
    Kel Eis 01-24-17 Member Since 2017

    True crime addict, detective-mystery enthusiast, sci-fi aficionado, psychological thriller devotee, and (don't judge) YA fiction lover.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Give it 20 Chapters, Then Decide"
    Where does The Dinner rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I hated it at first. The first 23ish chapters were slow, tedious, teasing... long winded... all the things I hate about popular literature. But I had to keep listening because the teases did their job of piquing my interest. The payoff is worth it. Absolutely. I understand why this one is regarded as a popular read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The narrator is not what he seems.


    Have you listened to any of Clive Mantle’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first time listening to him. He played the parts well. Sometimes his accent was obnoxious, but it was very suitable for the character.


    If you could rename The Dinner, what would you call it?

    Blood Loyalty


    Any additional comments?

    Give it a listen. Just make sure you're willing to invest the time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boysmom Alberta, Canada 05-21-16
    Boysmom Alberta, Canada 05-21-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    128
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    132
    37
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "That's a dinner to remember!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    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!


    What about Clive Mantle’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is so worth a credit. I love a different and engaging listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 02-20-16
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 02-20-16 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    268
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    158
    155
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    18
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Slow Burn Into Harrowing Territory"
    Any additional comments?

    I ended up liking this one a lot more than I thought I would after the first 25-30 pages.<br/><br/>This begins as a clever but almost precious conceit. A man and his wife go to dinner with his brother and sister-in-law. The brother is an influential Dutch politician, and that means they get special attention at the oh-so-pricey and full-of-itself restaurant they choose.<br/><br/>Even that start is strong. Our narrator has a funny judgmental tone, showing up his brother’s pretensions and critiquing the manners of the restaurant manager and others. It’s a quiet beginning, but the peculiar structure – a novel ordered around the stages of a fine meal – makes it intriguing if not compelling.<br/><br/>Then, gradually, the novel turns harrowing. It becomes, not a light send-up of manners, but a demonstration that much of what seems the bedrock certainty of these people’s lives is false or rotten.<br/><br/>At first we learn, against Tolstoy’s famous phrase, that not “all happy families are alike.” Or rather, we learn that these families are decidedly unhappy, and for reasons that run deeper than seems conceivable. [SPOILER ALERT:] Most strikingly, we learn that the two couples’ children are behind a terrible attack on a homeless person and that one of them the attack and has blackmailed the others with posting his recordings on Youtube.<br/><br/>Then, we see a deeper unraveling not just of family but of the self (as we learn of the narrator’s deep personal unhappiness), of the Dutch character (for what the narrator sees as a cultural inability to reflect on anything of real substance), and possibly even of the myth of Western culture itself. Eventually a sleeping fascism creeps into everything, darkening the lightheartedness of the opening into something painful to experience but compelling to read.<br/><br/>That’s a long list of certainties to undo over the course of a single dinner, but somehow Koch makes it happen. As I say, it began interestingly enough, though I wondered how well its particular cultural concerns would translate. As it gains momentum, though, it turns from a light meal into a hell of a lot to chew on. Miraculously, it does all of that without ever quite losing its surface elegance or even its lightness. This is a deeply skilled writer taking on the deepest of questions. So, yes, it does translate very effectively. <br/>

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yvette H Nevada 12-22-15
    Yvette H Nevada 12-22-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  •  
    Kelly Colorado Springs 12-19-15
    Kelly Colorado Springs 12-19-15

    Reading allows me to travel through time; to visit the world's unique and stunning places. To become somebody I am not... It is glorious.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    394
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    379
    376
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    12
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disturbing conversation = Delicious book."

    This book is excellent: witty, sometimes funny, often unsettling and sometimes ghastly. The 4 dinner companions are each different and surprising and seek to hide their prejudices and animosity. The narration is very good, the plot is intriguing and the characters are twisted.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.