The Dinner

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The Dinner

by Herman Koch

Crown Publishing Group | February 12, 2013 | Hardcover

2.0417 out of 5 rating. 24 Reviews
"A European Gone Girl." --The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives -- all over the course of one meal.

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 fifteen-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 show 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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 304 Pages, 5.51 × 8.27 × 0.79 in

Published: February 12, 2013

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0770437850

ISBN - 13: 9780770437855

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

The Dinner

The Dinner

by Herman Koch

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 304 Pages, 5.51 × 8.27 × 0.79 in

Published: February 12, 2013

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0770437850

ISBN - 13: 9780770437855

About the Book

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives--all over the course of one meal.

From the Publisher

"A European Gone Girl." --The Wall Street Journal

An internationally bestselling phenomenon: the darkly suspenseful, highly controversial tale of two families struggling to make the hardest decision of their lives -- all over the course of one meal.

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 fifteen-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 show 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.

About the Author

HERMAN KOCH is the author of seven novels and three collections of short stories. The Dinner, his sixth novel, has been published in 25 countries, and was the winner of the Publieksprijs Prize in 2009. He currently lives in Amsterdam.

Editorial Reviews

“A European Gone Girl … The Dinner , a sly psychological thriller that hinges on a horrific crime and its consequences for two families, has become one of spring’s most anticipated suspense novels.” – The Wall Street Journal “Poised to shake up American publishing…Koch tells a story that could very well take away your appetite.” — USA Today.com “[A] deliciously Mr. Ripley-esque drama.” — O, The Oprah Magazine   “You’ll eat it up, with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” — Entertainment Weekly    “Koch’s ability to toy with the reader’s alliances while using one family’s distress to consider greater societal ills gives the novel a vital punch.” — Daily Beast   “A tart main course that explores how quickly the facade of civility can crumble. It''s hard to digest at times, but with a thought-provoking taste that lingers.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer   “The novel has been called the Gone Girl of the Continent, and not without cause: Like Gillian Flynn’s bestseller, it’s a tale told by an unreliable narrator, full of twists and skillfully executed revelations, ultimately registering as a black parable about the deceptively civilized surface of cosmopolitan, middle-class lives…What Koch achieves with his prose—plain but undergirded by breathtaking angles, like a beautiful face sc
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Bookclub Guide

US

1. How did your opinion of Paul and Serge shift throughout the novel? How might the story line have unfolded if it had been told from a mother's point of view?

2. In what way do the courses of a meal-from aperitif to digestif-echo the experience of savoring a suspenseful novel? As the waiter described each delicacy in The Dinner, did the food appeal to you, or did you share Paul's belief that it was pretentious?

3. What do you think of the sympathy Paul and Claire feel for their son? As a parent, how far would you go to defend your child?

4. Do Michel and Rick represent the indifference of their generation, or are teenagers more socially conscious in the Information Age?

5. How much influence do Claire and Babette have over their husbands? How do they define good mothering?

6. The novel opens with Paul's commentary on how much Serge irritates him. What accounts for their attitude toward each other? Does Paul's animosity run deeper than typical sibling rivalry?

7. Discuss Paul's and Serge's career paths. What does it take to succeed in politics compared with succeeding in the classroom? What skills do the Lohman brothers share?

8. Ultimately, who is to blame for the homeless woman's death? What does the novel indicate about the responsibilities (or irresponsibility) of the upper class? What separates sympathetic souls from heartless ones?

9. Discuss the portrait of a marriage that Paul paints as he recalls Claire's illness and confronts the possibility of losing his family. Why is Claire so protective of Paul? What keeps their relationship going?

10. In chapter 30, we see the details of Paul's approach to history and humanity. As you watched him lose his teaching job, did you perceive him as someone who is ill or simply selfish? Or rational?

11. What does the story of cousins Michel and Rick say about nature versus nurture? How do you think Beau/Faso sees his adoptive family? What have they taught him about getting ahead?

12. How did you react to Claire and Michel's "solution"?

13. What commentary does the novel offer about the author's homeland? What aspects of The Dinner would change if it were set in Washington, DC, rather than in the Netherlands?

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