Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Dinner: 3 Stars

The Dinner by Herman Koch
Translated by Sam Garrett

I first saw this book while out book shopping with my husband. It was on the shelf of employee recommendations and the cover grabbed my attention. So I flipped it over and read the back of the book, and then I knew I wanted to read it.

The premise of the book is two couples meeting for dinner.  The book is from the perspective of one of the men.  He's not looking forward to the dinner at all, since he and the other man do not get along all that well.  It reminded me a bit of the premise of My Dinner with Andre initially. 

The entire book takes place over the course of one dinner, but as time goes on, the narrator thinks back on different memories, giving us a back story.

Well it turns out the two men are brothers and the dinner is meant to discuss their children. The three cousins have done something unspeakable, something illegal, something horrible.  And now the parents need to figure out what to do about it. 

The brothers know that during this dinner, they must decide what to do with their sons, but both seem to be avoiding the topic.  This is not only because of the gravity of the situation, but because the brothers are as different as night and day.  They have completely different ideas about how to handle it.

What would you do if your son had done something horrific?  Something terrible beyond your thinking?  Would you do everything you could to protect them?  Would you make them fess up and face the consequences, even if you know the consequences could end their future? 

For the most part, I enjoyed this book.  But it didn't take me long to realize I wasn't going to be thrilled with the ending.  Controversial to say the least, I definitely found myself siding with the other brother and not the narrator. The outlandish ending left me uncomfortable and uneasy.  

While that doesn't always make me rate a book lower, a boring middle does.  For such an interesting premise, there were multiple points in which I was bored and really wanted something, anything to happen.

I'd recommend this book for anyone looking for something different.

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