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La cena

3.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  81,901 Ratings  ·  12,190 Reviews
Due coppie sono a cena in un ristorante di lusso. Chiacchierano piacevolmente, si raccontano i film che hanno visto di recente, i progetti per le vacanze. Ma non hanno il coraggio di affrontare l'argomento per il quale si sono incontrati: il futuro dei loro figli. Michael e Rick, quindici anni, hanno picchiato e ucciso una barbona mentre ritiravano i soldi da un bancomat. ...more
Paperback, Bloom, 286 pages
Published 2010 by Neri Pozza (first published January 2009)
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G Tremblay There's several genetic disorders associated with a tendency to violence, including "Brunner's syndrome," a genetic deficiency in an enzyme (monoamine…moreThere's several genetic disorders associated with a tendency to violence, including "Brunner's syndrome," a genetic deficiency in an enzyme (monoamine oxidase A) discovered in large Dutch family. Those individuals were not only violence-prone but were also mildly retarded, which does not describe Paul or his son. It is possible this disease inspired the author, who took liberties with the science. Asperger's has no specific genetic marker, nor does the borderline personality disorder, autism, or sociopathy--nothing that enables prenatal diagnosis yet. Some individuals with extra sex chromosomes (XYY "super males," are prone to violence, but they are also retarded (which says something about male-ness, perhaps)). My guess is that the author was intentionally a bit vague about the precise diagnosis, was thinking of Brunner's syndrome loosely, but he merely wanted to raise the theme of responsibility when one's behavior is influenced by one's genes (or, similarly, brain injury or past abuse). Responsibility--a cultural attitude that changes with time--for misbehavior or crimes may or may not take into consideration the actor's nature and nurture. Some cultures give these factors more consideration than others. Sociopathy has been suggested, and it's interesting that even sociopathy is thought by some to be the result of a mental defect--a deficiency of empathy. The US criminal law mostly glosses over all this biology and heredity: if you understand the difference between right and wrong, and you do a bad deed, you're responsible. (less)
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Apr 15, 2014 Mark rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hated this book! It felt contrived and stilted. I didn't like any of the characters. I couldn't identify with any of them. None of the dialogue was believable. The situation was farcical (why would you go to a super-expensive, elite restaurant to talk about such a private matter?). The whole book was about protecting the kids from their own actions - their was no sense of personal responsibility, no remorse, no soul searching. The narrator was a violent thug who just whined incessantly the whole ...more

so this is probably a safe bet for people who liked Gone Girl. in other words, not you, richard. but it is not nearly as twisty and satisfying as g.g., methinks.

it has the moral bankruptcy of Gone Girl, the shallow people, banal small talk and heavily-done descriptive elements of American Psycho, and the "we are here to talk about our delinquent kids but it isn't going to go well" scenario of The God of Carnage. and why yes, i have only seen the film adaptation, thank you for asking.

the whole t
I really detested every character in this book (with the exception of Serge, him I just disliked). I hated the ending with every fiber of my being. I found myself wanting to put it down numerous times, and I felt physically ill when I realized where the ending was going....and yet I didn't hate the book itself. I actually went back and forth about whether to give it three stars or four stars for quite awhile. If it was possible I would give it 3 1/2 stars, so lets just say I did.

I am going to l
Jan 08, 2014 Noeleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Wall Street Journal has tagged The Dinner as ‘the European Gone Girl’. I beg to differ and I think that this book should more appropriately be tagged ‘the European Defending Jacob'...but hey who am I to question The Wall Street Journal! The Dinner tells the story of two families, the parents of which meet each other over dinner one evening in an exclusive restaurant in Amsterdam. At the heart of the story is a horrific crime which both sons within each family hold equal responsibility.

Koch h
May 30, 2013 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It occurred to me at the end of this story – this is a fascist novel. Not in the sense that the author is fascist or anything of the sort, but rather like pointing to a certain book and recognizing that it is a feminist novel, or a queer novel, or a Southern novel, or what have you. In 'The Dinner' we have a story in which the narrator through a long illuminating story, reveals to the reader the picture of what a secret contempt of all things “weak” or “inferior” -- formulated into an ideology a ...more
Emily May
“That’s the oppressive thing about happiness, the way everything is out on the table like an open book.”

When you look at the "rating details" for every widely-read book on Goodreads, you will almost always see most ratings being 5 or 4 stars. Even when it comes to divisive books like Fifty Shades of Grey, 60% of the ratings are for 4 or 5 stars.

Now look at the ratings for The Dinner. There are an overwhelming number of 3 star ratings (more than any other). And I get why. This is the kind of
Petar X
Update 3 July 2015 If you've read the book and thought nothing like that could ever really happen, read the news. It chilled me to the bone. If you haven't read it, it's not so much a spoiler because the book is different. Kind of.

I have tried to be oblique but anything I say will ruin the book if you are going to read it, so (view spoiler)
Edit :: added spoiler alert per GR member request.

(view spoiler)

Jennifer Bock
Sep 27, 2013 Jennifer Bock rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Jennifer by: multiple friends
This may have been one of the worst books I have ever read. I will confess that generally I want to have at least one character that I like. But it's not always necessary. If the plot or situation enthralls me in such a way that I am compelled to keep reading, then I'm happy to. This book however, I kept reading because every review that I read and every recommendation I got from friends said how fabulous this book was. I read to the end hoping it would get better. I hated it.
I hated the fact t
Dec 24, 2012 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I'm a huge fan of books that explore how far we'll go for those we love, particularly our children. When Hogarth Publishers agreed to send me the e-galley of The Dinner I was ecstatic. It's due to be published in the states in February 2013.

This is a book that begs eating metaphors so I'll try to spare you but it won't be easy.

The Dinner is laid out in courses, from aperitif to digestif and is excellently plotted. You learn early on that this dinner is not the typical happy family outing. Brot
Will M.
Aug 09, 2015 Will M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Gillian Flynn
I can consider this one of the few messed up novels that amazed me by its darkness. Some of the other ones were Gone Girl and Dark Places, so I guess I do have to agree with the blurb from Wall street journal stating that this is a European Gone Girl.

This is one of those circumstances wherein I'm glad I didn't listen to the bad reviews, and the low overall rating of the novel. Opinions vary, so stick with your gut. If the novel seems like something you'd enjoy, then don't hesitate to give it a
Mar 28, 2016 Carmen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2013 RandomAnthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I understand comparing a book to Gone Girl will push sales, so yay for that comparison plastered on every The Dinner reference. But seriously, motherfuckers, this novel is more like Flynn's Sharp Objects and, in my eyes, better than Gone Girl. So let's stop talking about Gone Girl, even though I liked that book, because, you know, there are other books in the goddamn universe and I'm trying to review one as we speak.

The Dinner's main character is an angry, reflective guy out at a restaurant with
Debbie "DJ"
This is the book that should have said, "If you liked Gone Girl..." And, after reading some reviews, maybe it did, and I just never saw it. For me, this book is a top notch psychological thriller.

Two couples meet at a posh restaurant for dinner, arriving to discuss some type of problem with their children. The two couples are Paul, and his wife Clair, and Serge (Paul's brother), and his wife Babette. Paul is the single narrator of this story and he recounts much of his past as each course of din
Quirky Psychological Thriller with Despicable Characters

The Dinner by Herman Koch is set in Amsterdam and primarily takes place in an upscale restaurant over a multi-course dinner. I picked this book up because it was a thriller available on Overdrive when I wanted to read something different. I am aware that the reviews are all over the board on this work -- from gushing 5-star "this is the European Gone Girl" to bleak 1-star "waste of time". My opinion falls in the middle of the spectrum.
Apr 20, 2013 Dem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dinner by Herman is certainly a quirky and entertaining read and if you like dark, quirky and different then this one may be for you. I really enjoyed this novel, it certainly packs a punch.

Take two families, a dinner setting and a couple dangerously delinquent sons and a very disturbing act of criminality that has shocked the nation and you have yourself the plot of a very well written novel.

A word of warning! Not every reader is going to love this if you dislike storie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book was truly a five course meal, well metaphorically speaking. I love smart writing and nothing was lost in translation for me. I had no idea what this book was about when I started reading it and I devoured it in a 24-hour period. It was yummy!
A clever tale, but I failed to care much in its outcome. The immediacy of a family dinner between two brothers and their wives, with their catty and vicious maneuvering, sets us up into thinking this is just a social satire of classism and family jealousies. But then threads of the past and compelling needs to make important decisions affecting the future fate of their children casts the tapestry into darker colors, and the facades start to sag.

Initially, the reader joins in on the snide thought
Feb 24, 2013 Pattie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't wait for this book to be publshed in the U.S. but I wound up being very disappointed in it. To begin with, the character who narrates the book comes across as petty, childish, and irritating from the opening pages. He was never a sympathetic character, although I believe he initially was supposed to be, in comparison to his brother. The brother, a boorish, pompous and larger than life figure, actually had more heart in the long run. In addition, I didn't find it believable that these ...more
Glenn Sumi
Oct 29, 2015 Glenn Sumi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-usa-can-uk
There’s a bit too much on the menu in this wickedly fun psychological thriller from bestselling Dutch author Herman Koch.

But he’s such a good writer (which comes through in the smooth translation), and his narrator is so savagely funny, insightful and demented that the entire thing goes down like an excellent meal – with a slightly nasty aftertaste because of the subject matter.

Two middle-aged couples dine out at an expensive Amsterdam restaurant. As they go through each extravagant, rather absu
Jul 24, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! What a fun dinner experience that was!

Everything was going so well during drinks and appetizers. Just a nice meal in a super fancy restaurant. Luckily, Serge knew people since he was a politician and all, maybe even the next prime minister! The first third of the book was just that... appetizers, whetting my appetite for the delicious main course. Pages and pages of beautiful descriptions, subtle humor, not so subtle humor, and casual conversation. The whole book could have stayed right the
Mar 28, 2013 Dexter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dinner is a simple book on the familiar topic of family secrets and the extremes we go to in keeping them. The story unfolds over a restaurant dinner at an upscale Dutch eating establishment. I loved the organization of the story and the forward momentum which had me finishing this short book in just three sittings. I am a consummate foodie and the descriptions of the hypocritical restaurant culture were some of the best parts of the book for me. I also liked the schaden freude social commen ...more
Mar 29, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judy by: Dem
My biggest question after reading this captivating story, is why did so many readers only rate this 3 stars? I even read several reviews to try to figure this out. However, I couldn't find a single reason, so will chalk it up as one of those books that make people react strongly. Even though there are a lot of 3 star reviews, the reviewers have strong feelings about the book, strong "meh" feelings.
Me? I really liked the book, but will qualify that with saying the narrator of the audiobook had a
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Ever read a book that made you queasy to your stomach? This was this book for me. Thing is I couldn't stop reading it. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars just for the fact that I don't think it's going to leave my mind for awhile.

I didn't like not one single character in this book, usually that makes you put a book down doesn't it? Most of the story takes place just over dinner at a resturant. My little foodie heart couldn't miss a story involving that now could I? I think no more of the plot shou
Loved this twisty, dark, psychological novel, which has shades of both Gone Girl and Defending Jacob—two other favorites. The author is Dutch and the translation is clear; I was never aware of the fact that it was originally written in a language other than English. The entire story takes place in a restaurant, with a dialogue among two brothers and their wives, but there are flashbacks which flesh out the story and build the suspense. I really liked the voice of the narrator and the style of wr ...more
Gregor Xane
Jan 07, 2014 Gregor Xane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I think I fell for every trick the author had up his sleeve on this one. I flew through this book like I was expecting the last page to reveal to me some magical secret of flight or something. Of course, it did nothing of the sort. But I love it when a book hooks me like this book hooked me.

I liked that there is one minor detail that makes this a work of science-fiction. I won't mention what that is, as that would spoil things for the reader. Also, some readers might get to the end and have no
Diane S ☔
Dec 26, 2012 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First book that I have rated so highly even though I did not like any of the characters. This is a book of moral complexity narrated by an unreliable narrator, who at first seems to take the politeness and political correctness out of all conversations at dinner. He does this basically inside himself, not outside where any can hear but he is extremely skeptical of almost everything. From the beginning the reader knows this is not going to be a lighthearted dinner between siblings, the tension is ...more
Jun 02, 2016 DeB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I reluctantly gave The Dinner four stars simply because the author penned the psychological mystery he intended to write with superb craftsmanship.

This novel had been recommended to me by a friend of a friend, who generally has steered me in the same direction of interesting, literary and not-to-be-missed fiction. Looking at the average rating, I realize that this novel has met with varying degrees of appreciation.

Intellectually I liked the layers, the build up, the squirmy narrator Peter with
The Dinner is a dark family drama that escalates into a psychological horror story. You are not going to like these people, but you will be fascinated by them, the same way we can't turn away from a horrible car wreck with mangled bodies strewn all over the road. You know it's going to be gruesome, but you can't look away.

The setting is a very posh, exclusive restaurant, the kind with gloved waiters and 3 month waiting lists. The story unfolds during each of the dinner's five courses. Two coupl
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  • De overgave
  • Tirza
  • The Twins
  • Mevrouw Verona daalt de heuvel af
  • The Two Hotel Francforts
  • Bonita Avenue
  • De passievrucht
  • Schroder
  • The Assault
  • The Angel Maker
  • The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
  • Das Wüten der ganzen Welt
  • Joe Speedboot
  • Give Me Everything You Have: On Being Stalked
  • Komt een vrouw bij de dokter
  • The Twin
  • Lijmen / Het Been
  • The Engagement
Herman Koch (1953) is known as a television producer and a writer. The book 'Het diner', published in 2009, was his breakthrough in the Netherlands. It was published in 17 countries. It was partly based on a true story involving a homeless woman named, María del Rosario Endrinal Petit, in Barcelona (Spain), in December 2005.

Koch was born in Arnhem, and later moved to Amsterdam. He studied Russian
More about Herman Koch...

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“Sometimes things come out of your mouth that you regret later on. Or no, not regret. You say something so razor-sharp that the person you say it to carries it around with them for the rest of their life.” 70 likes
“Happiness needs nothing but itself; it doesn't have to be validated. Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in it's own way.” 25 likes
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