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The Dinner by Herman Koch
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's review
Sep 06, 2012

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Read from September 06 to 10, 2012

The Dinner
Herman Koch

My " in a nutshell " summary...

Two families meet over dinner at a restaurant to discuss a traumatic event.  There appears to be a good amount of dysfunction brewing.  Two of the people at dinner are brothers and one is famous and running for political office.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Wow...I am not sure if I love or hate a book where there are no redeemable characters.  This book is a translation from Dutch and is the story of two families...two brothers, actually, who are trying to decide  what to do about their sons.  It seems as though these sons...quite young...fifteen ish...have been involved in a horrible act...and one that no one really knows about.   Parts of it have been on of the brothers...has seen it on his son's cell...and the families are meeting at a posh restaurant to discuss the events...and even this has a horrific outcome.  No one seems all that stable to me...especially Paul...and his brother Serge has much at stake  because he is running for Prime Minister.

What I loved about this book...

Hmmm...this is difficult to answer because I really was into the book without liking anything about it.  The characters were awful!  Paul was ready to punch people out at any time.  He was asked to leave his teaching position and was diagnosed with some kind of mental illness?  This was difficult to understand because the condition was never named and I was led to believe that his son could have it, too.  So...again...I was caught up in the story and the writing while feeling total disgust for most of the characters and the situations...
These were not nice people!

What I did not love...

The fakeness of Serge and Babette was sad...I believe them to be overbearing and pompous.  Paul was a jerk...totally.

Final thoughts...

A fascinating look at a life that I could not stand for two seconds but...this is a book that made me think!
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