The Dinner by Herman Koch

Two brothers and their wives get together over dinner at an upscale restaurant to discuss what to do about a shocking act committed by their sons.

The Dinner is a relentlessly twisty novel with a secretive narrative. What’s not to love?

As the absurdly hoity-toity meal unfolds, the complex layers of the narrator’s life unfold in devastating ways. He is a calm man, not given to excess, who possesses a deep admiration for his wife. His brother is campaigning for prime minister in the upcoming election, and Paul’s disdain for his brother’s superficial public persona and lack of inner depth seems understandable and even justifiable. Something has gone wrong but no one wants to address it directly. And as the drinks flow fast and the vitriol faster, things end being worse than you could imagine.

Herman Koch doesn’t hold back and I commend him for his storytelling integrity. It’s really awesome when a writer doesn’t hold back.

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