arjuna's Reviews > The Dinner

The Dinner by Herman Koch
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's review
Aug 22, 2012

really liked it

This was lovely and unsettling and all too real - the wonderful f****d-upness of ordinary middle-class lives, the horrendous beliefs and justifications and selfishness and egotism that bubbles away in the name of respectability... not new territory by any means but played with here in a wonderfully engaging way. The narrator is by turns horrid and engaging and brilliantly unreliable, the constantly shifting perspectives of the central event and those around him he offers logically and beautifully woven. I don't see why people compare it to "The Slap" - well, I sort of do, but this is much tighter (and to be honest, more rewarding to the reader - felt less stereotyped, although perhaps a Dutch reader may experience it differently; the more complex connotational aspects are likely to be opaque to me). Perhaps its most powerful aspect is the way in which one cannot help but understand where everyone is coming from... how very easy it is to shift one's attention away from the central event, how very easy it is to dismiss it as nothing particularly unusual. Sobering, nasty, funny, rewarding: I recommend it.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Sherm Thompson Yes! It is both nasty and funny - I think it wouldn't leave the reader with so many questions if the main characters weren't so well-drawn, and that includes being able to be things like funny, and ordinary, and sometimes plain old right.

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