Friday, May 31, 2013

The Dinner

The Dinner 
by Herman Koch
Hogarth, 2012. 292 pgs. Fiction

The reader is lead through a four course meal by the decidedly unreliable narrator, Mr. Lohman, as he negotiates a ‘small’ family problem with his brother. As Mr. Lohman captures the reader’s trust with sly jabs at the upper-class and witty complaints, he slowly reveals his own history and the real trouble in his family. The narrator tries to uncover only what he wants his readers to see, but it becomes impossible to keep ignoring the strange contradictions in his story. What the reader glimpses through the cracks is both thrilling and disturbing.

 Hailed as the ‘European Gone Girl’, the Dinner doesn’t disappoint. Most thrillers capture the reader’s attention through fast-paced, action packed plotlines with young, glamorous protagonists and clearly defined villains. Not so here. The Dinner thrills because of its masterful storytelling, which slowly and creepily reveals the hero and the villain to be the same person. This is the sort of book that worms its way into your subconscious, so a small part of you will always think: people can justify anything to themselves.

 - JM

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