“The Dinner” by Herman Koch


Another contender in The Tournament of Books, I knew I was going to read The Dinner by Herman Koch because friends had said good things about it. But I was intruiged by …

OMG, I have GOT to come up with a new word for intriugued because I canNOT seem to spell it and I am not going to try and keep going back and correct intriuged.. It’s like my spelling kryptonite.

Anyhoo. I found it interesting that The Dinner had a relatively low rating. Lots of hate for the book. Who was right, my friends, or the people of Goodreads?

Well, duh. You people, of course.

Please, forgive the pun, but I devoured The Dinner. It starts off and a guy’s going out to dinner with some other guy and he doesn’t want to go, and the other guy sounds like a jerk, and slowly, oh so slowly the story unspools and you find out how they’re connected, what the dinner’s about, what all the bajillion undercurrents are, and what truly horrible people these people are, and I had to wonder if I’m horrible for having been fascinated by horrible people. Certainly I can see why there’s a lot of hate for the book, because the characters and what they do are hateful. This is a great example of a book that a lot of people hate because the characters aren’t likable. But oh, are they mesmerizing. I was fascinated by this one.

7 Responses to ““The Dinner” by Herman Koch”

  1. Steph Says:

    Interesting to hear your thoughts on this one. I have to admit that when this came out I wasn’t really all that interested in it, and I was using the low GR rating as an excuse to continue to not read it. Now that it’s in the ToBX, however, I feel like I should at least give it a shot. All I really know about it is that it is supposed to be a less good version of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (note: I have no idea if that is even an accurate summary/dismissal… no one seems to talk about the plot at all. I guess the mystery is supposed to be part of its allure?)

  2. girldetective Says:

    Steph, I never read Kevin, though Post Birthday World is one of my favorite books ever. I found it very skillfully crafted and am interested (not intriuged, ha!) to see what the thoughtful, experienced readers of ToB think of it, given that they’re not so subject to making a hate-able narrator equal a hate-able book.

  3. Buried In Print Says:

    I’ll come back to read your thoughts on this one; it’s one of the ones in the group that I am now most keen on (although initally I hadn’t taken note of it at all) and find myself “saving” it in the queue.

  4. JamesReadsBooks Says:

    I loved this book. I guess not being on Good Reads is the right move for me. I do not understand this position so many people have taken of insisting that all people in books be good-hearted, likeable folks. I just react as though they want to take the sour out of sweet-and-sour sauce.

  5. Amy Says:

    I loved it too. I love reading about unlikable people, because a good writer will give us some insight into their lives and their ways of thinking. Doesn’t always make them more likable, but that’s OK.

  6. JD Says:

    This sounds like a must read to me. I’ll add it to my ever-growing TBR pile. Love your review. Found you on the Saturday Review of Books.

  7. Dawn Says:

    This book was devastating! In a good way. I loved it.